This morning I woke up to the news that three women aid workers have been killed by the Taleban in Afghanistan. They all worked for the International Rescue Committee, an entirely humanitarian organisation with no links to the military. My friend and ex-boyfriend (aka the Commander) used to work with IRC and they were very careful about keeping their distance from the military, and about not having any armed guards at their offices or guesthouses to ensure that they could not be seen to be militarised in any way. This killing is against all rules of armed conflict, will make it increasingly hard for the humanitarian and aid community in Afghanistan to do their work and most of all it is a terribly sad loss of three great women.
I'm angry and sad and reminded for the fourth time this month how fragile and fleeting life is and why we have to live the very best lives we can - avoiding complacency and apathy and cultivating gratitude and joy. It's not hard for me to do that since these past months have not only brought news of the deaths of several good friends (all too young and too wonderful to die, but that doesn't seem to ever stop death does it?) but also wonderful times with friends in far-flung places and more good food and great laughs than any girl could ask for.
I'm back in New Zealand after several months away, including a month in LA with my dear friend Christine (she was finishing her fabulous new book while I was studying and then sitting my exams), a precious time with the Boho's in San Diego and then a whirlwind tour of California, Portland OR and NYC to visit some very special friends and family. Some of the highlights included: the BBQ (photographed above) in Atherton with good friends and colleagues from Herat, Afghanistan; a visit to Coney Island with some other friends from Kabul; an incredible weekend in Inverness with new friends; and some wonderful Blogher get-togethers.
Now I have a new job with an international not-for-profit organisation that works on peace-building, social justice and development in the greater Pacific region. I'll be based here in NZ working on their policy and advocacy but hopefully will have some chances to travel in the Pacific region to see some of our programmes on the ground. I'm also still studying part-time for my graduate diploma in psychology and trying to write about my time in Afghanistan.
It's going to be a tricky balance to keep those three (work-study-writing) balls in the air and also keep time make the most of the chance to be at home and see lots of my friends and family. So I realised that I will never find time for this blog unless I make it part of one of these three key areas of work focus. So I have decided to change things around considerably.
I'm going to retire this blog and start a new one. It's time to come out from the world of anonymity now that I'm not longer in Afghanistan and this blog is unlikely to pose any security risk to myself or my colleagues. So my new blog will be in my name. It will be a place for me to post extracts from my book - the story of my experiences in Afghanistan. I may also post about the process of writing my book - which has already floundered for more than 6 months since I got home. I need a space in which to be accountable for actually writing, and I need a place to put up my writing for critical comments.
There may also be another blog in the future - a collaboration with a friend - but more on that once it has been given a chance to gestate.
I'll put up a link to the new blog when it is up and running. Until then thanks for checking in - between now and when I get the new blog up I may just post some photos here from my travels. Some are too good not to share.