Going to a Women’s Shelter in Afghanistan

I deployed to Afghanistan as part of a Provincial Recontruction Team in 2010. Today I’m sharing part of my experience of when we went to the capital to meet women in Afghanistan. If you would like to learn more about my deployment click here.

Meeting a few women in Afghanistan gave me a peek into the hardships they faced. This was my favorite mission while in Afghanistan.

Mission to the Capital of Kapisa to meet women in Afghanistan

On one of the missions I went on we went to the capitol of Kapisa (Mahmud-i-Raqi) During that mission I was able to go to a Women’s Shelter, which was interesting experience.  We (three females from the Provincial Reconstruction Team and a male interpreter) were able to drop off supplies and hear about the different issues that the women in Afghanistan have. The main issue was most of the women’s husbands were addicted to drugs and abused them.  They were at the shelter not because they wanted a divorce, but wanted help for their husbands.  The shelter also provides counseling and medical services.

We were also able to meet with the Director of Women’s Affairs. Overall, the meeting went well.  We were given plans for a women’s park and we are working on gathering information to possibly provide a women’s park in the future.

Fixing the Generator

As we were leaving she asked if we could get her a new generator.  She said that it no longer worked.  One issue that the people in Afghanistan have is they don’t understand modern Western technology.  When we asked what they were using as fuel for the generator they said water.

There is a disconnect between Western technology and Afghanistan that it is hard to truly make progress.  We are pushing our western ways onto people who don’t even know what to use to make a generator work.  We tried to explain that the generator need fuel, not water to work properly, but you could tell that through the translation and lack of understanding she just wanted the generator to work.

We hope to be able to help people understand the basic principles of running a generator, but are running out of time.  Hopefully, we can start to make progress and the next team can build on what we have started.

Seeing the Children

After the meetings were over, I was able to interact with a group of children while another meeting took place.   It was fun to spend time with the children.  They know so much, they pretended like they didn’t know any English, but as we prodded them and interacted we found one of the kids who spoke pretty good English.

We had fun talking to the kids, showed them pictures of our kids and spouses.  I think my long blonde hair mesmerized them.  They kept asking me to show it to them.  Since we were in a safe place I would. We asked them different questions about the area.  I think this is one of the best missions I went on.

I got to spend time with some children and they are the future of Afghanistan and hopefully we were able to give them a positive view of America.

P.S. They all love John Cena. 🙂

Are you leaving the military? Are you unsure what comes next? Struggling with what do next? I can help. I served in Air Force for six years before becoming a military spouse, mom and blogger. The transition from military to mom was a hard one for me and the one thing that helped me was finding purpose again. I want to help you navigate the transition of life after the military and help you thrive. I created a workbook with the tools I have learned the past four years. Leading me from lost, lonely mom to momprenuer. #militarylife

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(Kapisa Province, Afghanistan) U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Amanda Huffman speaks with local Afghans outside the newly constructed Malakar School in the village of Durnama. Lt. Huffman is a member of Provincial Reconstruction Team Kapisa and routinely performs missions throughout Kapisa to interact and engage with local leaders. The PRT's mission is to stabilize the region by enabling local governments to care for, educate, employ and protect their people through the construction of basic infrastructure and mentorship. (DoD photo by Tech. Sgt. Joe Laws, USAF / Released)

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4 comments on “Going to a Women’s Shelter in Afghanistan

  1. This is great that you were able to meet with them! Do you know if the park was built? Also, did they figure out how to use the generator?

    • They were unable to afford fuel for the generator and didn’t understand that was what they needed. We passed the plans for the park on to the next team, but I’m not sure what happened. We did this mission about a month before I left Afghanistan.

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