Afghan Journal 4 – March 28

We had an incredible experience with Razia Jan this morning feeding Kabul’s poorest with her sweet homemade halwa. Halwa is cream of wheat with cardamom, raisins, sugar, butter, oil (everything has oil, oil and more oil) – and she made an enormous pot. Our role? We helped her pull the little stems off the raisins. Razia then bought 40 big pieces of flatbread, put a heaping scoop of halwa in the middle of each one, and folded each end of the bread over on itself. These halwa pockets were then stacked on trays, and we drove around Kabul distributing them to the needy. It was such a special experience, and I have visions of replicating it for Boston’s homeless.

Razia feeds a beggar on the streets of Kabul.

Another memorable moment: I fell through a glass table while filming a school staff meeting. Everyone agrees that sitting on the glass table in the first place was a bad idea. This opinion was formed soon after I crashed through the middle of the table and onto the floor on top of all the broken glass.

I bought a new burqa yesterday at the Lise e Maryam Bazaar – a huge outdoor market with more than a mile of packed stalls. I wanted to use it as a “costume” for the Tribeca Film Festival Vine competition. Vine is the new twitter video app for the iPhone that allows you to post 6 second videos. I’m still not convinced that this is not completely ridiculous, but like all things social media, these mini-vids can suck you in. (If you don’t believe me, just check out the “self-portrait from ceiling fan.”) The goal of the competition (besides the $600 prize) is to make the best 6 second film.

This burqa cost $20.

My idea: woman wearing a burqa walks into frame, looks at the burqa skeleton graffiti on the wall, throws off her burqa, walks out of frame. Razia offered to play the part of the burqa-throwing-woman. She was a trooper! And… take one! And… take two! Aaaaaand… Take 10! If only we had 7 seconds we could do this!! Finally, we did it in 6 seconds, but she walked out of frame the same way she had walked into it. Since the Vine videos continuously loop, the continuity was lost.

I said, “It’s good, but if I could change one thing, you’d continue walking in the same direction.” “Well,” she said, “you told me to walk that way, so now you live with it.” I love this woman! Trust me, Razia is not someone you want to pick a fight with! And just because I don’t remember giving that instruction, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen (wink).

Shooting for the TFF Vine Competition

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