I live in Kabul, Afghanistan. On the way to my home, I can see the beautiful Darulaman Palace from a distance, although it is not as beautiful as it used to be. The palace was destroyed during the mujahedeen (civil) war. The palace was built in 1921 and completed in 1925 during the reign of Amanullah Khan (king of Afghanistan at that time). It was a royal residency.

It is approximately a 15 minute walk from the road to my house. Most taxis won’t travel on the tiny streets unless they get paid more, because the streets are hard to navigate by car.
My neighborhood is not a beautiful or modern place. It has some very old houses. Some of the houses have very low doors so when tall people enter, they have to bend down. It is a very small community.

People of different ethnic backgrounds live in my neighborhood. Most are Pashtuns and there are a few Tajik and a few Hazara people. It is a poor community and people are really good to each other. Some of the people are so poor they can hardly feed their children. But some are in good shape financially and can sometimes help their neighbors. One thing I love about my neighborhood is that, although there may be a conflict going on among the tribes and different ethnic groups, the neighbors are always there to help each other and share their sorrows and laughter.

Once my sister-in-law got sick at 3 a.m. Because we live on such tiny streets, it is hard to get transportation, especially at that time of the night. Some of our neighbors own their own cars. My brother called one neighbor who happens to be Pashtun and woke him up. Although he could have easily refused and made up some excuse why he couldn’t take us, he got up and immediately took his car out of his garage. Then they drove all the way to the hospital. That was one of the worst times we ever had trying to find transportation, and they helped us with no anger. When my sister-in-law got out of the hospital, our neighbor sent his family to ask about her health. This was only one of the examples of kindness and respect in my neighborhood.

The worst thing about my neighborhood is that it is so far from the main road and very dirty. In the summer, the dust is too much, and a person can never come home without being filthy. In the winter, a person cannot return home clean because it is so muddy. The air is also very dirty, but the water in that area is famous. There are wells all over my entire neighborhood, and the water is pure and fresh.

By Maryam