My Busy Year

I wanted to try out being busy and see what happened, so in the beginning of 2010 I made a goal to enroll in several trainings, gatherings, workshops, and courses. In the beginning life was normal. It was fun being busy.

The first workshop I enrolled in was Women and Politics. I wanted to know about politics even though our society is not willing to let women be involved in politics. My family encouraged me. Even my young brother, who graduated from law school, persuaded me to enhance my knowledge about women’s rights based on Islam.

I learned about women’s rights, how to vote, and how to decide whom to vote for. Because of this training, I put my life at risk and voted in two elections, even though there was a rumor that if a woman voted the Taliban would cut off her colored finger. It was frightening and a big decision because sometimes a rumor can become the reality. I went with my brother and my sister-in-law to the elections and I was proud to cast my vote for the person I wanted.

Next I attended a course called Leadership in Instability. It was my dream to take leadership training and learn how women can confront challenges and stand on their own two feet. In this training I learned how to be a leader at home and in society.

I established a network of women that can be in contact with each other to inform each other of events. I made many friends during this training. I found a way to work for women who are poor, vulnerable, and marginalized in our country.

I volunteered to translate for a peace project that works for women in a few provinces in Afghanistan. The peace project focuses on women and trains them how to invest in and start small businesses. One of the documents I translated was the Guide to Green Cleaning.

I also applied for and won two scholarships—one for Canada and one for Australia. I chose the Australia scholarship. I enrolled in a six-month academic English course and attended several individual and short-term trainings on gender mainstreaming. I also went to India for Research Methodology and Peace Building. And I did a presentation for Gender and Development in Counterpart International Organization in Kabul.

Finally, I became a member of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, submitting monthly pieces for this blog.

The negative side of being so busy is that I was forced to spend less time with my family. That is not something that is good in our culture. In fact, sometimes being alone and apart from them killed me, but I had no other choice. I was not able to attend most of the spring and summer picnics with them because, except for Fridays, I had no other time for my homework.

Because I did not have time to visit my relatives on a regular basis, they gave me a new name—Busy Girl—and always called me that instead of my real name.

My “busy experiment” taught me that I should always pre-plan, consider enough time for each job, and not to get under so much pressure that I become tired. I should not take too many courses at the same time because it causes delays in other jobs, especially office work. I also suffered a lot because I have three nieces at home between two and four years old and they love to show me how much they progress in their dancing. Once my mother saw me and said, “If you must do your dancing at night, please be careful about loud music and disturbing the neighbors.”

Overall, my busy year was successful. I learned to cancel some things that were not a priority. I believe that I am now better able to be a good advisor to my nieces, teaching them how to study and better manage their time as they grow up.

By Fariba

Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images AsiaPac


  1. Nicole A.D. says:

    Fariba,it is so inspiring to read about your political involvement. You are so brave to risk your life to vote, and I wish more people in the U.S. would take voting as seriously as you do. It’s amazing what you have accomplished in just one year and I can’t wait to read more about what happens in your future.

  2. Debra D. says:

    Fariba, I’ve read several of your blogs and I would never have guessed you were involved in so many other causes aside from the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. I commend you on your determination to better yourself through education and experience. Your description about voting was bone chilling; where I’m from, voter turn-out is typically quite low because people are lazy or don’t care to voice their opinion. There is no fear of violence or death to cast one’s vote and still, so many with the opportunity to vote do not. Your example is an uplifting one and I hope others can learn from your courage.

  3. Dylan D. says:

    Education is the first step toward a better life, and I’m glad that you’re choosing to better yourself, even if it means getting a nickname. As Debra said, voting is something that we take all too often for granted here, and it is great to see that you are still exercising your democractic rights despite intense pressure. Your story is an inspiration, and encourages people to follow your example and work harder.

  4. Emily D. says:

    Fariba, Education is one of the most important aspects of life and one of the most important things a person can do to make himself or herself a more well-rounded person. I am so happy for you that you chose to seek out classes and workshops. Your determination is something to be proud of!

    Your comments about going to vote were scary! I cannot imagine being afraid to go vote. Where I live, so many people choose not to vote. I am proud that you chose to vote and make your voice heard! I hope people can learn from your example and realize voting is an important thing. Thank you for sharing your story! I am inspired by your courage and determination, and I hope other people are too!

  5. Dominic D. says:

    Though you may have been forced to sacrifice time with your family, your determination is something that everyone can be inspired by. Living in the society that I do, it is not rare to see people who have so many opportunities, but they choose not to take them. It might be laziness or perhaps it is just that they don’t appreciate how special these things really are. It is wonderful to know that you have been able to do so much and do not take it for granted.

  6. Brianna D. says:

    Fariba, it’s great that you are so involved in your community, education, and family! You must be a very well-rounded person since you’re involved in so many awesome opportunities/organizations. You’re right though, it is easy to burn yourself out. I feel that way with school and other activities. I agree, spending time with family is very important. Your nieces are lucky to have you as a role model because they will grow up knowing what a strong woman is like.

  7. Maureen D says:

    Fariba, it was wonderful reading your post and very admirable that you are so involved in your community and reaching out to others. I understand how it feels getting overloaded with work. I am a student too and found that sometimes finding a balance between family, friends, and work is challenging, but something that is worth the challenge. Thank you for posting this, it was very inspiring!

  8. JESS D says:

    Fariba, you have amazing courage. I think that your decision to vote was very brave and displayed incredible strength. I know that things got pretty hectic for you but sometimes life throws challenges at us and it sounds like you did a great job balancing everything that you had going on.

  9. XanderDGR8 says:

    This is wonderful that you pursued some of your dreams. You are making great strides in learning English.

  10. I really enjoy you doing this i like that your doing what you want to do you are a very good person helping with women rights and going into politics and actually voting for who and what you thought was right you should become a leader if you do become someone like that you could help alot with people help out some women and talk about your rights and that keep it going your doing a good job!.

  11. Røberto ®. says:

    Your decisions to vote was incredibly brave. Being busy must be hard work and not spending lots of time with your family. But you became successful Fabriba. You are brave and have lots of courage. I think your life will get better and better with the skills you have.

  12. Dear Fariba,
    I am amazed in your decision to lean about politics. Being busy girl must have taken the courage of ten and the talent of a juggler. You are a very creative writer and you have very interesting pictures.

  13. i wonderful how you are so into helping your community. your vote will help other in need

  14. Wow! I am very impressed with the effort you have made to learn about all the things in the world around you. You seem very brave for making these decisions and I hope that you keep up the good work!

  15. justin says:

    i liked it.

  16. ⌡åçĶ says:

    You are an incredibly brave person! It is great that you decided to vote even with that rumor.

  17. Amazing! I think you should keep pursuing what you love to do, and spend as much time with your family as possible with your schedule

  18. KEVIN D says:

    Fariba, after reading your post I admire you for your convictions. In my life my family and I very close also, but they are loving and understanding that I can’t not be there all the time. To be a voice and to have a voice is a very tough thing, but it is the tough things that make life worth it.

    Being busy has it’s ups and downs but at least it makes things interesting. I wish you all the success in your endeavors.

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