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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The End of Ramazan. How Did I Do?

Children's kite landed on our roof. Just like in Kabul
they children fly kites here on windy days.
Ramazan, or Ramadan in Arabic, is over. Today, Sunday August 19 is the official end of Ramazan and the beginning of a celebration called Eid. Some Afghan friends estimate that about 80% of the population in the cities probably fasted during Ramadan. In the rural areas it was closer to 100% excluding children, the elderly and the sick. Also women who menstruate are also excluded for three days during that period of the month.

I have to admit it was tough when those temperatures hit 110F and above. Ramazan moves around on the calendar so it is not always during the peak summer months. I have to admit it was much easier when the day time temperatures were closer to 100F which fortunately was fairly often which was unusual here.

Afghan local tomatoes. 
Yes, they are as good as they look. 
How did I do? I came to a crisis point. One Afghan woman asked me in a rather impatient tone why I was fasting. She actually seemed like she was offended. I told her that I wanted to find out what my staff was going through. How could I know what I could ask them to do or not to do if I did not understand their situation. Her gaze softened. Her face turned to one of shock almost. She had  never considered this as a reason why someone might do this. Once she understood my motives she became a good friend but she was distant until she understood the Why.

This also caused me to think through my reasoning and the fasting restrictions I had put on myself. If I wanted to understand what they were going through, couldn't I just do it for a couple of days, understand the hardship, and break the fast for myself? I could. Would I understand the long term effects that fasting for a month had on my staff? Probably not
. But certainly there was no reason for me to wait for the Mull
Local higher end retail market. The low end is at the
ah to give his prayer some time around 7 pm to break my fast. I was not Muslim and I didn't need to live by this conduct. So I would break my fast after they went home for the day and I was alone...usually around 6 pm. Did I need to get up at 230 am and eat and drink so I could start fasting when the Mullah gave his prayer at around 430 am? No. So when I got up at 5 am i belted down my cup of java and then began my fast. Water and food.

The time of Eid is a time when family and friendships are renewed. The first day family visited each other. Food, massive amounts of good food they could or could not afford, was laid on the table. Candies, fruits, vegetables, meat,... it was all there. The second day close friends would visit other close friends. And the third day everyone joined in. It is a special time for children. Almost like our Halloween without costumes, children visiting and given candy and goodies at each of the houses.

I have been invited to two homes so far on tomorrow. I feel honored. It is the second day of Eid. I have close friends. I feel blessed.


  1. Your personal experiences and stories have been so interesting. Thanks so much for sharing them with us. A few of our group that you spoke to in Kingman, Az are on our way to becoming master gardeners in a year. Until then, we are volunteering and learning so much and loving it!

  2. Congratulations and keep up the good work! I know Rob appreciates it!