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Afghanistan is a dominantly Muslim country, so people there practice Ramadan every year.
The Fitr Eid vacation after Ramadan (the month of fasting) ended last week, and  Pakistan and Afghanistan offices returned to normal business hours.

This year, I also tried fasting just for a short period of time.  In Ramadan of the Islamic bloc, people do not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. We heard they do not swallow even their own saliva. In Islamabad, approximate time of sunrise of July is 5:00 am, sunset time is 7:20 pm. So, during about 14.5 hours, people do not eat or drink at all. Ramadan period shifts slightly every year because it is determined by the Islamic calendar (lunar calendar). This year, Ramadan overlapped with the time of the longest sunshine in the hottest season.

At first, I intended to try a full fasting. However, as it deprived me of power for working, I was doing a partial fasting with water for a little more than 1 week. After this trial, I have understood how the full fasting is difficult. It made me respect Muslims who have done it for one whole month. At the same time, I have also realized why the work efficiency goes down across the country during Ramadan. It is difficult enough to work with empty stomach. It is, of course, even more difficult to keep the usual work efficiency. I didn’t understand its reason when I was out of Islamic world. But, after my little experience, I realized that Ramadan has meanings; to know the suffering to withstand hunger, to share the feelings of people who have been placed in the situation and to thank that we can eat every day without hunger.

In Sindh province of southern Pakistan, there are dead by drought every year. Now I can imagine how harsh the situation is where people cannot take a drink in the temperature of almost 50 degree. I expect certain protractive actions will be taken because they practice Ramadan. After all, Pakistani has the power to endure Ramadan! And I think again we’ll have to expand our support.

[Iftar(meal after sunset) with staff at Islamabad office]

Makiko HORI
Administration and Financial officer

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July 30, 2015 in Afghanistan |