Thursday, May 26, 2011


In my time here, I've learned a fair amount about the daily life for Afghanis...I'll try to put some of it down here, but it may take a few posts. Most of the information about daily life and culture has been gathered from interactions with our local nationals and conversations with coworkers. All of us speak with the LNs that work on our compound and sometimes they provide us some insight about Afghan life and culture. The information provided here is only anecdotal and I have not done significant research to verify any of this information.

When we drive around we see children all over the place, boys and girls playing together. But, as kids get older it is inappropriate over here for males and females to interact unless you come from a very very liberal family. One of our LNs indicated that after children are about 9 or 10 years old, they are not allowed to speak or interact with one another. Also related to children, one of the LNs indicated that in some families, as boys age (still younger than 10), it is not uncommon that all parenting of that child is done by the father and the mother has a very limited parental role in the child's life from that point on.

We've asked about the burqa and head scarves. All women from a very young age have their heads typically covered with scarves...but the extent depends on the family. As children, girls typically only wear a head scarf but her face is rarely covered. As girls age the requirements change. Some families only require that the hair be covered while others require more. Sometimes a woman covers her face while in mixed company while others have their face covered at all times. The most face covering is with the burqa where is even a woman's eyes are covered through a cloth mesh. From my understanding the decision regarding which type of head covering a woman wears is made by either the father or the oldest male child in a family. Either makes this decision.

In regards to women and school, all girls typically go to school until about age 10...but boys and girls do not go to school at the same time. In some places, boys and girls have totally different schools but in other places girls go in the morning and boys in the afternoon, or vice versa. After the age of 10 education for girls varies. Some families encourage their girls to go to school beyond age 10 while other families keep the girls home. The more "liberal" the family, the longer the girls go to school.

There is lots more related to marriage and family life...I'll post at a later date.

Things are still going very well here...less than 3-weeks until my R&R!

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