Let me show you where I live. Of course, because of security, I can’t really show where I live, but I can give you some sense of how I live.

I live in a guest house, which basically means that people from around the world who work with the same contractor (in this case my company) live together. There is a committed effort to make sure all of our needs are met. It should also be noted that every guest house is a little different (e.g. more people because they’re larger, an outdoor courtyard, different cooks, etc.).


While those in the military may lament the food (served buffet style in huge cafeterias), the food in the guest house is very good. Seriously, our cooks are great. They really want us to like the food and do their best to take our preferences to heart (e.g. one girl only eats chicken so there is always a chicken dish at dinner).

Dinner is always a feast including: salad, soup, veggie, typical nan bread, and 2 entrees. Also, there is a huge selection of cereals, drinks, fruit, and nuts available any time in the dinning area.

(Note: As I’m writing this, the electricity just went out. This is extremely common. It will flicker a couple times each day and seems to go out for about 10 minutes every other day. We have generators at home as well as at work, and because we use laptops, we usually just keep working. The only drawback is waiting for the internet to come back. And as summer weather comes, I’m sure it will become more frequent and more uncomfortable.)

Living Space

There’s a living room where we can hang out and watch tv. On days that the government is closed (like today because of the Peace Jirga), we often end up working here.

Each person in the house has a bedroom and bathroom. There is basic furniture, but we can make the space whatever we want. Some people buy nice persian carpets to put down, get a tv, &/or put up pictures of friends & family.


Always an issue in Afghanistan. We have a variety of security measures in place, but I won’t detail them here.


There’s a gym in the basement.


Each house has a House Manager who is responsible for everything from ordering more supplies to calling for a plumber. Our guy is great.

The people who I live with are from around the world. The demography of my house is American, Egyptian, Sri Lankan, and Afghan-American (we also work with Pakistanis, Indians, South Africans, and British). Of course, this makes for some interesting dinnertime conversations.

Everyone living here is on a different project with their own contract so the vibe of the house changes frequently. Several times in the past week, I have hung out with 2 guys, who are only here for 10 days. Because they are here short-term, they are energetic about seeing and doing things. We have gone out to eat and carpet shopping. Yesterday, I met a girl who lives in one of the provinces and was here, for the night, on here way out for her vacation. Other people, like me, are here for several  months to over a year. This dynamic creates an ever changing home.