Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez

By Deborah Rodriguez

Quickly after the autumn of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as a part of a bunch supplying humanitarian relief to this war-torn state. Surrounded through women and men whose skills–as medical professionals, nurses, and therapists–seemed eminently more effective than her personal, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mom of 2 from Michigan, despaired of being of any actual use. but she quickly came upon she had a present for befriending Afghans, and as soon as her career turned identified she was once eagerly sought out by way of Westerners determined for a great haircut and by means of Afghan girls, who've a protracted and proud culture of operating their very own attractiveness salons. therefore an concept was once born.

With the aid of company and overseas sponsors, the Kabul attractiveness college welcomed its top quality in 2003. good that means yet occasionally brazen, Rodriguez stumbled via language obstacles, overstepped cultural customs, and consistently juggled the demanding situations of a postwar country at the same time she discovered the way to empower her scholars to turn into their households’ breadwinners via studying the basics of coloring suggestions, haircutting, and makeup.

Yet in the small haven of the wonder college, the road among instructor and scholar speedy blurred as those bright girls shared with Rodriguez their tales and their hearts: the newlywed who faked her virginity on her marriage ceremony evening, the twelve-year-old bride offered into marriage to pay her family’s money owed, the Taliban member’s spouse who pursued her education regardless of her husband’s consistent beatings. via those and different tales, Rodriguez came upon the power to go away her personal dangerous marriage and make allowance herself to like back, Afghan style.

With heat and humor, Rodriguez info the lushness of a possible desolate quarter and divulges the beauty in the back of the burqa. Kabul attractiveness institution is a striking story of a rare group of ladies who come jointly and study the humanities of perms, friendship, and freedom.

From the Hardcover edition.

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I just wave my hand as if the problem down the hall is so minor that it need not concern them, then settle myself on my cushion again. I ignore them until they stop talking and fall asleep, and then, amazingly, I too fall asleep. It’s a bad sleep, though: I’m back in the car on the way to the wedding and the driver keeps smashing into other cars and I’m afraid, once again, that we’ll all die. Then someone is shaking me. Roshanna’s mother is back, waving the clean white handkerchief, kissing the Koran, then hugging it to her chest, rocking back and forth, wailing and crying, talking rapidly to me and to her daughters, who are again urging me up off my cushion.

They looked like burst blisters, still raw and painful. Nearby, there was also a huge graveyard of tanks and planes that had been twisted and torn by the fighting. On the façade of the main airport building, what looked like a hand-painted sign said WELCOME TO AFGHANISTAN. The building looked as if it hadn’t welcomed visitors for many years, though—there were broken windows, scarred bricks, and piles of rubble heaped outside. Before we climbed down the stairs from the plane, all the women quickly pulled the scarves we had been told to bring over our heads.

We found out later that he already had either a girlfriend or a first wife in Germany. ” As Roshanna finished her story, she sobbed, and I held her just as I had once held my children. Even though I hadn’t been in Afghanistan long, I knew that things could hardly be worse for a girl. People don’t dismiss a divorce with a benign label such as “irreconcilable differences” in Afghanistan. If a man divorces you, other people assume there must be something wrong with you. People will whisper that you are lazy or willful or a bad cook or—worst of all—that you were not a virgin.

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