fascinating book about a teacher living and working in Afghanistan< read all 1 reviews
I have never read a book about anyone who has lived and worked in Afghanistan, so this book instantly drew my curiosity. This book has two things that make it special for me. First, it expands my knowledge of world geography. I could not locate Afghanistan on a map or globe before I read this book. I am proud to say that I can locate it on a map .
Second, this book is a satisfying memoir of a time and place I know nothing about. I have formed my opinions of Afghanistan from news paper reports and the news. It is a country that has been ravaged by a war that has lasted ten years. This book by Jean Boyce-Smith gives me a different perspective. It was once a country where people could walk the streets without fear for their lives. It was once a country covered with beautiful willow and fruit trees. The late Jean Boyce-Smith and her husband Walt, taught English at a college in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1948 and 1949. She got the opportunity to teach in Afghanistan because of a state department program. The material for this book came from her diary entries and letters collected by her daughter Perrin.
Jean Boyce Smith taught English at an all male school called Habibia College. The challenges she encountered working there are interesting to read. The unique thing about Habibia College is that students ranged in age from 13 to 23. Her classes consisted of fifty students. She worked six days a week for 188 days in a school year. These teaching conditions are remarkable to me. I admire any American teacher who possesses the courage to work in a foreign country She is honest about struggling to communicate in the Farsi language.
Reading this book raises my interest in learning the Farsi language. I learned the Farsi phrase for thank you is Tasha Kur and that sheereen means sweet or pretty. Smith also makes reference to the Urdu and Pashto language too. I am curious to learn what the distinctionbetween the languages.
Smith devotes a chapter in this book about shopping at a bazaar. A bazaar is a collection of open markets. It is the heart of social life in Kabul. I like the idea of going to one place to shop for all my needs. I can picture myself drinking tea and buying food or lamps at a bazaar. She describes the bazaar as a place where I could see horse drawn carriages and camels on the same unpaved road.
Jean also spends a chapter about the experience of having house hold servants. I have never had a servant before. I had fun visualizing what it would be like to have someone to wash my clothes, cook my meals and tend to my garden. She also writes about suffering from jaundice and her husband's experience suffering with dengue fever. She also writes about travelling to India and seeing the Taj Mahal. Her description of it sounds lovely. It is definitely a place I would like to see in my life time. My Afghanistan is a fascinating book. I could not put it down.
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