Today I drove to a small town about an hour from Kabul named Qarabagh to visit a radio station. The drive to Qarabagh was very interesting because we got stuck in a sandstorm. We stopped in the bus station on the outskirts of Kabul to pick up the station manager, and I noticed the sky was becoming dark and the wind was picking up, as if it were about to rain.
When I mentioned this to the driver, however, he laughed and said that it was a sandstorm, not a rainstorm, that was approaching. The vendors at the bus station and people in the streets used their shirts or head-scarves to protect their faces against the sand. We began driving along the bumpy road to Qarabagh. At one point the sandstorm was so strong that we were enveloped in a thick cloud of dust, could not see the road, and had to stop the car.
Within about fifteen minutes the storm died down, and we could see the surrounding countryside. The road to Qarabagh cuts through a valley, and there were very tall mountains in the background and green valleys around us.
The road we drove had apparently been the sights of many battles and was still heavily mined. The road was marked with either white stones, which meant the area had been cleared of mines, or red stones with a crossbones with the word danger underneath, which meant the area was still mined. It was frightening to see shephards and children walking through the mined fields.
We arrived in Qarabagh and stopped by the local radio station. The entire station consisted of one studio with a computer, microphone, and two chairs, and a waiting room with a sofa and chairs. Yet the station was able to produce and broadcast radio programs to the entire city.
Radio is an important means of communication in Afghanistan, because many people are illiterate, and televisions are too expensive for many people. Radio programs are an especially good way to educate women about their rights, healthcare, and education.
Posted By Sarah Schores (Afghanistan)
Posted Jun 29th, 2004