The fourth and most beautiful season of a year, winter brings unique feelings. I enjoy looking out my window on a snowy winter morning to see that everything is white. The snow makes me hopeful and I think about continuing to work toward my goals. It encourages me to finish at the university, apply for a master’s degree, find a good job, and be useful to my country.
Sometimes the snow makes me feel that everything is mine and I can do anything I want. In the snowy days of winter, I like to take a cup of coffee and sit near the window to watch it fall slowly to earth, where it sits like a white pigeon and changes the landscape into a white paradise.
Other times the snow makes me sorrowful. Because Afghanistan is a mountainous country, sleet storms often rain down in winter. In recent years, people in Panjshir, Badakhshan, and other provinces have lost their lives in these storms. So when I see it snowing I think of those people who live in tents without any heaters. I think about those people who live in mud houses that can be destroyed every time it sleets. For these people, snow is a disaster.
The poverty level in my country is so high. About eighty-five percent of people are below the poverty line. They do not even have enough food to eat in winter.
Despite these difficulties, one of the nicest places in our country to celebrate the winter season and take up winter sports like skiing is Bamiyan province. It is the most beautiful place in the winter. Snow-covered hills near Band-e Amir remake this province into the largest skiing area in Afghanistan. Many people from all provinces go there to enjoy the winter holiday. One of my big wishes is to visit Bamiyan in winter and summer. My sisters and I have planned to go there on many occasions, but something always intervenes.
In winter in Afghanistan we have different foods. The most well known dishes in winter are Kachi, which is a special food made of flour and oil with dried fruit, and Halim, a breakfast dish with beef or chicken. My favorite winter dish is Qabli, a dried meat stew with oil and onion and tomato sauce in a steam boiler, and then added to rice with raisins and carrots. On winter days, especially during the weekend when everyone is home, my mom cooks this dish. We sit around a table for lunch or dinner and enjoy our time.
On winter nights, people stay up late and have tea with dried fruit or popcorn and watch movies or TV or read poetry by famous poets like Hafez and Hakim Kheyam. We invite our relatives to come over, or we go to their homes. Often in winter I go out with my friends or cousins to shop or go to restaurants to enjoy the snowy days.
Photo by Michael Foley