Thank you to Marcia for letting me share the news that from today until 23 December, Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni is only 99c/99p on Amazon.
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is a unique portrayal of the lives of ordinary Afghan women before and after the Taliban regime. The reader is caught up in their day-to-day lives sharing their problems, dramas, the tears and the laughter: whether gossiping over tea or learning how to deliver babies safely.
As well as the opportunity to enjoy meeting the women, Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni takes the reader on a journey through some of the most stunning and dramatic landscapes in the world.
And right now it’s only 99c!
Here’s a little taster:
‘As was usual when it came to goodbyes, Sharifa enfolded me in a damp farewell hug, her eyes red from weeping. Blinking hard, I croaked past the egg-sized lump in my throat, ‘Please, don’t. You’ll start me off again and I’ve cried too much already over the last few days.’
Sharifa pulled back sharply, demanding, ‘What are you crying for? You made the decision to leave us. If you are so upset about it, don’t go.’
For a moment, changing my mind seemed such a stunningly simple solution to ending the misery, I almost agreed. Then I thought of the ordeal of the endless round of farewell dinners I had just endured. Each one had started with an air of forced gaiety as we laughed too loudly at not-very-funny jokes before lapsing into tense silences. Each one had ended in tears. I could not go through it all again.
Wordlessly, I shook my head and walked across the tarmac to where the tiny plane was waiting, its engines running. Leaving was proving to be more painful than I had ever anticipated. It was heart-breaking knowing that it would be many years – if ever – before I again saw the friends now clustered together waving goodbye. There was, however, no time to drown in my sense of loss. With the plane taxi-ing down the runway, five-year old David needed reassurance concerning his own doubts about our going away. Tugging at my sleeve, he demanded anxiously, ‘Are you sure there are sheep in Scotland? If not, we’ll have to come back because I really want to be a shepherd when I’m big – like Iqbal.’
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘there are sheep in Scotland but first you have to go to school. After that we can consider shepherding as a future career.’
Satisfied, he soon fell asleep – maybe to dream about running wild on the mountain with his friend Iqbal. I let my own eyes close. Instantly, three years of memories jostled for attention as the plane flew over the jagged peaks of the Hindu Kush, taking us away from Afghanistan.
During those three years working, along with partner Jon, for a small NGO concerned with health care in Afghanistan, there had been many emotional highs and lows. Along with a demanding workload, there had been excitement, occasional moments of terror – such as when armed robbers, demanding dollars I didn’t have, tied me up and poked a pistol in my ear.
There had been anger and sadness but, as well as tears, there had been lots of fun and laughter. In particular there had been the overwhelming warmth and acceptance shown by the Afghan women who had become my friends, allowing me to share a part of their lives.
Apart from the over-emotional, soft-hearted Sharifa, there had been acerbic, sharp-tongued Latifa, Habiba with her snobbish aspirations, and gentle Maryam with her practical good sense. I knew I would never need the nishani [remembrance gifts – of handkerchiefs and embroidered cloths] to help remind me of them.
Nor would I ever forget the village women who bravely agreed to be pioneers, joining with me to establish the first Female Health Volunteer training project. These women had learned how to prevent infants with diarrhoea dying of dehydration, to teach their neighbours all they learned, to deliver babies safely. They had been so excited when they received their hand-made certificates after passing the final exams. They had been even more excited when I showed them an article, accompanied by a group photograph, about their achievements, that I had written for a national newspaper back home.
‘Are people in your country really interested in reading about us?’ asked Fatima in wonder. ‘We’re poor. We can’t even read and write. What is so special about us?’
Find out just how special these women are by downloading Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni here. You do want to know why the chickens were drunk, don’t you? Did I say it’s on Kindle Countdown at only 99c?