It's been a while since my last post and I have a lot of things to say and pictures to share. The next several posts will be out of order, but I'll get everything down.
First off, a couple days ago I went to a Stop Violence Against Women Conference. It was somewhat comical since violence against women will never stop in Afghanistan, but it was my first time to observe a gathering of Afghan women in public. When the PRT arrived at the conference site, there were around 70 women already seated. They weren't wearing burqas, but they were wearing headscarves that covered everything but their eyes since men were present. When we walked into the building, 70 pairs of eyes immediately focused on us. It was really eerie looking back at all these sets of eyes. The women were also very skittish, like antelopes that could be dinner for a hungry lion at any moment. They each carried a burqua as just another accessory like their cell phone or purse. When the conference was over and it was time to leave, they put on their burqas (heaven forbid someone should see their eyes) and left the compound.
As far as Thanksgiving and the holiday season, I think it's best to pretend like these events don't exist. It makes the pain of being stuck in Afghanistan, away from loved ones much easier. I do have a bright spot: it looks like Scott and I will be able to take leave together and go back to the UK in January. It won't be a long time at home, but a day there is a day that I'm not here.