Springtime in Kabul

Today is officially the first day of spring!

March 20th marks the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and while it may not look remotely like spring right now in Finland, in my mind these photos which were taken in Kabul in the spring of 2008 will always be how I envision a perfect Springtime.

Every time this year, my heart wings its flight to Afghanistan. I find myself going back to a place which holds a deep fragment of my soul captive. Just as springtime is symbolic of rebirth, renewal and growth, Afghanistan will always be for me a personal symbol of hope and a place which restored my faith in mankind.

This country so synonymous with war, conflict and tragedy to me remains a place of unexpected peace and healing. A place so profoundly marked by loss and grief and yet, the spirit of the people rise up again and again.

Today I also want to especially remember the people of Afghanistan as they celebrate the Naw Ruz – the Persian New Year. I want to remember that in a country devastated by war and untold tragedies lie some of the greatest examples of human dignity, endurance, strength and exceptional beauty.

If you ever want to meet a kinder folk, tender hearts and fiercely loyal friends, go to Afghanistan. I believe it is one of the last bastions of our world where a people group relatively untouched and unspoilt by modern materialism still exists.

Celebrating the festive season at the family home of our driver.  As following custom, the women and menfolk were separated into different rooms when guests visit the house. These are the strong, vibrant and beautiful Afghan women.

The children of the household. This family had about 30 members all living under one roof – the patriach and matriach of the home, their five sons and their wives, a trail of cousins and an assortment of children.

My son with the youngest daughter of the family.

Our friends.

Once upon a time I lived in Afghanistan and it changed my life forever.