The Transom Review

Volume 3/Issue 6

Sarah Chayes

October 1st, 2003

Sarah Chayes

Afghan Independent Radio is about to go on the air, with a projected launch date of September 11th. Sarah Chayes, shepherding the project, is a longtime international reporter for NPR, now taking a break “to make a direct contribution to reconstructing a post-conflict society.” She has kindly agreed to file updates on Transom this month, telling us about working on the station and the programming, and about life on the ground in Afghanistan these days. Her opener is below. She has also sent many fine pictures, which we’ll continue to post, and we will bring you audio from the field as time goes on.

Sarah has only intermittent Internet access in Kandahar and the team from Afghans for Civil Society are incredibly busy, but they will be checking in here as often as they can, so please feel free to engage them in conversation as they move toward broadcast. Jay A

Afghan Independent Radio

Photos by Eve Lyman.

A Street in Kandahar

A street in Kandahar.

A Name, An Identity, An Image, and Mr. Timor, Summer 2003

The patient and loyal staff of Afghanistan’s first indigenous free radio station have voted to name it Afghan Independent Radio/Afghan Azad Radio, or AIR. They have designed a logo using the English and Pashtu letters for “AIR,” emanating from a transmission tower.

The arrival of Mr. Ismael Timor and Seyid Mahmad Azil, on April 15, catapulted AIR to a new phase in its development. Timor, the team leader, has an impressive background in Afghan broadcasting. He was reporter/producer at Kabul Television, news department, from 1979-86; then he was in charge of the news department. Afterwards, he founded and ran Balkh Radio Television, in Mazar-i-Sherif, from 1987-98, when the Taliban conquered the city.

He has conducted focus group discussions, and been involved in human rights investigations. Mr. Timor is a gentle man, highly organized, and dedicated to his work. Under his tutelage, the core radio staff, which had been meeting about once a month to discuss basic concepts, and then almost daily with me, to work on radio techniques such as interviewing substance and style, technical recording, tape logging, editing, etc., launched into a two-week course on the principles of journalism. They were examined and graded on the material.

The Launch, The Programming

I still don’t want to predict a launch date, but with equipment literally on the road between Kabul and Kandahar as I write, it’s certainly firming up. We still need to do a lot of work on the radio building: putting in double glass and soundproofing the studio, building work tables for the mixers, and regular desks for computer work and news writing. That’s liable to take a month at least, and will necessarily interfere with the reporting and producing.

Based largely on the preparatory discussions that began last year, Timor has developed a program list. AIR staff will produce the following original programs:

1. Kisht aw Karwanda: Cultivation and Field (agriculture)
2. Radioi Safar: Radio Journey (tourism, life in other provinces)
3. Salamatya: Health
4. Ghotai Ghwariji: Buds Opening (small children’s show)
5. Badani Rozana: Body Exercising (sports)
6. Tserena: (research)
7. Zwanan aw Ratlunkai: Youth and Future
8. Sheze aw Owsanai Taulana: Women and Contemporary Society
9. De Ownai Mohimi Peshe: Important Things that Happened this Week (week in review)
10. De Islam Wrange: Lights of Islam
11. Gulban: Flower Garden (poetry)
12. Bya Raghawana: Reconstruction
13. Zmuj Chapiryal: Our Environment
14. Tikki: Spots
15. Tassu wposhti Zawab e per muj: You Ask, the Answer is for Us (questions for leaders)
16. Radioi Kitab: Radio Book
17. Da Khalku Nazariat: People’s Opinions (man in the street)

On the Streets

An Approximate Daily Rundown

We are planning a broadcast day from 4:00 till 10:00 PM, with the only caveat in the schedule below being 20 minute slots for produced news. Knowing what it takes to put even a 4 or 5 minute produced news story on the air, I tend to think this is a bit ambitious, given the rest of the work our skeleton staff will have to do. So think of this as a draft.

3:59 Alert
4:00 Jingle, AIR id
4:01 Qur’an verse (XXX)
4:04 Jingle, AIR id, introduction of today’s program
4:05 News
4:10 In-depth news ?????
4:30 Short news
4:33 AIR program
5:00 News
5:05 AIR program
5:30 Short news
5:33 Afghan Music Program
6:00 News
6:05 BBC/VOA/Radio Free Europe/Tanin Program
7:00 News
7:05 Repeat in-depth news ?????
7:25 Music
7:30 BBC Pashtu News
8:30 News
8:33 AIR program (repeat from earlier in the week)
9:00 News
9:05 AIR program (repeat from earlier in the week)
9:30 Short news
9:33 Foreign music
10:00 SOC out (sign off)

A Specific Program… “40 Steps”

Mr. Timor has been getting a lot of this material in the can already. For example, he has already recorded a complete children’s program. He said some of the technical quality wasn’t all the way up to snuff, but the guys were absolutely thrilled at the result, realizing that they can really put a program together; that this is going to happen.

I’ve worked very closely with Timor on the research program, which we picked to discuss almost at random. The first show will be about the 40 Steps, a monument to the Emperor Babur (the founder of the Moghul Empire in India) on the edge of town.

We hammered out the structure of the 25 minute show thus: it will start with a famous song about the 40 Steps. Then some vox pop: end-to-end man-on-the-street interviews, relaying the legends people have heard about the 40 Steps, e.g. that Camran, Babur’s son, had a beautiful daughter, and he said only a man who could build 40 steps into the side of this mountain could marry her.

Holy Man

Then the narrator will actually climb up the 40 steps (taking the sound of his footsteps), and describe the place: the view of Kandahar, the carved inscriptions, what the carving looks like, the beauty of the Persian used in the inscriptions, and the pock-marks from bullets and shelling that mar the surface. Then he’ll say something like: People believe so many things about the 40 Steps, we wanted to find out the truth about its origins. Perhaps the best way to begin our research is to find one of the oldest men in Kandahar, and ask him about his memories. Follows an interview with the old guy, who remembers picnicking even higher up in the hills above the 40 steps. Then the narrator will interview a historian, a mujahid (Anti-Soviet resistance fighter), who remembers the battles around the site, and may, as appropriate, read parts of the Baburnamah, the autobiography of Emperor Babur.

Two days after we worked all this out, Timor came back to me with a Script for two 25 minute segments. That seemed like very quick work for such an ambitious project, leaving me to wonder if we might not have to focus more on depth and quality as time goes on. But very well, that will be an ongoing process.

On the Ground. No Stability, August 2003

In two years, I have not felt the sense of urgency about the political and security situation that I have begun feeling this week. If the ongoing degradation in the security situation is allowed to continue, the result will almost certainly be a durable disillusionment with the US presence here.

Armed attacks inside Kandahar Province have taken a deadlier turn over the past month or so — fewer audible rocket-launches during the night, but more deaths: 2 moderate, pro-central government mullahs praying in their mosques, for example, two district police chiefs and several of their men, in the border area with Pakistan, at least two serious fire-fights leaving dozens dead and wounded, and most recently, the assassination of half a dozen members of government security forces at a Taliban road-block in the north of the province.

But even beyond the number of actual incidents is the rising level of frustration felt even by those Kandaharis most committed to the stability process, to the central government, and to the Western presence here. The terms in which this frustration is expressed are wholly new.

“Soon Afghans will turn against the Americans the way they turned against the Russians,” several people have told me in the past week. “And once that happens, nothing will stop them.” A businessman added: “Even doctors and engineers took up arms against the Russians.” In the past week, a murky dust-cloud (“Khaura”) engulfed Kandahar. Popular wisdom associates this phenomenon with an imminent change of regime. Kandaharis were harking back to the fall of Daud Khan and Amanullah – when, they said, a similar dust storm obscured view for days.

These comments are coming not from Taliban or religious extremists, but from those who looked to the US involvement here to bring about a new era for Afghanistan. The problem is that the United States is seen as having brought back, and as continuing to support, the warlords the Taliban chased out. The oppression and arbitrary rule Kandaharis are suffering has forced them just about to the breaking point. Recent examples include:

  • The monopoly of public resources, such as stone and water, for members of the governor’s family or tribe.
  • The jailing or release of prisoners for reasons of personal interest. No significant Taliban or al-Qaeda official has been captured on the governor’s initiative. But the “search for Taliban” has served as a pretext to ransack and loot houses throughout the province.
  • The monopolizing of legitimate private business opportunity, like the right to sell gasoline within city limits, or the right to operate taxi services between Kandahar and neighboring cities.
  • Threats and intimidation.
  • The torture of prisoners.
  • The theft of public resources such as customs duties.
  • Assassination attempts against officials opposed to the governor’s practices, such as the prison director’s recent (7/29) attempt to kill the chief of police.
  • The refusal to pay salaries of security forces not under the governor’s direct command, leaving the governor’s private militia the only viable armed force in the province.
  • Open trafficking in heroine and hashish.

“In one year, the Americans will lose this country,” said a highly educated Kandahari recently.

In the Station, A Month Before Launch, August 2003

Under the gentle and skilled guidance of “Timor Sa’ab,” AIR program production has been going on apace. Mr. Timor’s goal has been to put 3 months’ worth of programming “in the can” before launch, September 11. His very fruitful trip to Kabul netted significant additional programming available for our use, from AINA, the French media project, Internews (one of our benefactors), and the BBC and VOA. The AIR team has been listening to and cataloguing that material, as well as continuing to produce our own. Mr. Timor and I continue to meet regularly to discuss content, methodically working through each program, and talking about substance, technique, where to put “sound,” etc.

But the most exciting progress at AIR since our last bulletin has been on the physical plant. Gul Agha the carpenter and his assistant have set up shop in the studio, and, using the most basic local materials (including beautifully seasoned cedar wood), have been building us a custom studio. Our radio building is partly underground for cool, as are many Kandahar buildings, and it is the underground level that we are fitting out as the recording studio. The arched double-windows for the director to see in by are framed in honey-colored wood; the soundproofing – a layer of sponge covered in carpet – is held in place with thin rods of wood decorated with burned arabesques. Gul Agha has made us assorted tables to order, including a corner director’s table with a curved inside edge, and a wonderful pigeon-hole shelf for stocking program and music cds. Now he’s working on the newsroom upstairs and the broadcast studio.

This morning we chose the paint color: a golden cream for the production area, and cool blue-gray for the hall and stairs.

Photos by Eve Lyman


Afghan Children

Child in Rubble

Oldest Man

At the Bazaar

Kandahar Fast Food

Sarah and Village Elders

Sarah and Beadwork


Old man selling grapes

Urozgon mani street

Mule and girl

Urozgon soldier

Sarah Chayes and the Governor

Children at a wedding

Children at a wedding


About Sarah Chayes

Sarah Chayes graduated in History from Harvard University in 1984, earning the Radcliffe College History Prize for best senior thesis written by a woman. She served in the Peace Corps in Morocco, then returned to Harvard to earn a master’s degree in History and Middle Eastern Studies, specializing in the medieval Islamic period.

After reporting for years for National Public Radio in the Balkans, North Africa, and the Middle East, as well as her base in Paris, Ms. Chayes is taking a break from radio to make a direct contribution to reconstructing a post-conflict society. She is helping run an Afghan non-governmental, non-profit organization, Afghans for Civil Society. Based in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, its primary mission is to bring to Afghanistan some of the intellectual resources necessary for formulating constructive public policy. It is also sponsoring community-to-community projects, such as a sister-school initiative and the rebuilding of houses destroyed during the recent conflict.

85 Comments on “Sarah Chayes”

  • bw says:
    post number 6

    As I read your first five posts, I couldn’t help but wonder WHAT Afghanistan you are talking about.. then came post number 6. That’s the Afghanistan I was wondering about… The urgency of your situation sure is palpable, I am very curious as to what your thoughts are concerning AIR in light of the remark you close post 6 with:

    "In one year, the Americans will lose this country," said a highly educated Kandahari recently."

    Is AIR something that can put the breaks on this slide towards anarchy?

  • Nannette Drake Oldenbourg says:
    Applause, standing ovation

    Extremely impressive!
    You may not be able to say, but I wonder about your personal circumstances. How you’re living. What kind of security you and the station will have.

    I wonder about your personal story leading to this extraordinary life containing risk and discomfort. If, at the age of 10, someone had told you you’d be doing this, how would you have responded? – And when you were 20?

    I really appreciate your inclusion of the original language titles. Fascinating! e.g., Tikki = sports. Is the local language related to Indian languages? (and therefore, English? The word for body looks familiar…How are you learning the local language(s)?

  • CM Lane says:

    Ms. Chayes, your work so far is very impressive and inspiring. I wish you the best of luck. Can you speak more toward the specifics regarding staff, equipment, and funding? How many reporters/producers, studios, players, and the like? What’s your signal range? Where does your funding come from?

    Thanks for giving us an insight into what you’re doing; I’m anxious to read your updates. Do you have any professional wisdom to donate?


  • Sarah Chayes says:

    Staff is skeleton, for the moment, due to the lack of qualified personnel in Kandahar. We want this to be local radio, not staffed by imports from Kabul or the diaspora, but as a result, we’re pretty slim. Five men make up the core staff of reporter/producers — Najib who’s funny and very capable, and doesn’t lie about himself or his courage, Sarwar who’s a bit dreamy but very willing, Hikmat, a Farsi-speaker who’s perhaps the most serious of the bunch, Ibrahim, who comes from the local newspaper, and is very involved with the local literary crowd, and Ma’mun, the youngest, very ambitious, good reporting instincts, very energetic. You have the profile of Isma’il Timor in the original documents.

    We just got some funding from the German foreign ministry for women’s programming, so a group of women we have been meeting with about the constitution is constituting our women’s team. They began work last Monday. They are: Fahima, a high school headmistress, very active and sunny and thoughtful, Shakira, another high school headmistress, more passive, Shahida, now monitor for GTZ women’s programs in Kandahar, sharp-tongued and alert, Bilqisa, an educated woman whose husband won’t let her work, probably the best qualified in the group, and Ma Gul and Shala, two very common-sensical illiterate housewives, who have made some of the most pertinent contributions to the constitution discussion.

    Funding comes primarily from the Carr Foundation, a private human rights organization based in Cambridge, MA. Additional funding is from USAID, the Soros Foundation, and the European Commission.

    Two studios, still in the throes of loving creation by Gul Agha the carpenter and his assistant. Gul Agha was recently distracted by the kidnapping of his young brother by a local militia unit, which forced him to work for them (cooking, etc.) for free, and tried to rape him. We got him released yesterday.

    Equipment is a standard package put together by Internews in Kabul. I confess to being less than pleased with the price/value ratio on the reporters’ kit, which I know something about. Commercial mini-disk recorders for $300, Chinese microphones, no shot-guns, no lapel mikes, etc. I’ll have to add some in.

    Signal range will be Kandahar proper to begin with — FM line of sight.

    Thanks so much for your interest!

  • Sarah Chayes says:
    daily life

    Salut, Nanette:

    Thanks so much…

    Personal situation involves a compound with a lovely garden and three cows…whence fresh milk for tea in the AM. Security is…a problem, in the abstract. There’s a lot of licking your finger and sticking it into the wind… Security here is largely based on deterrence. You are safe if people believe that SOMEONE will track them down and kill them if they do anything to you. I have had to resort to having certain people told this, after I received threats. This sounds very dramatic, but it isn’t really, it’s just local theatrics. I think, for the moment, our force-field is safe. Of course if I begin to think differently, I will have to take appropriate measures, for me and the station.

    I don’t know about this life, how it came about…certainly unplanned, but always with an acute feeling of discomfort whenever I got too comfortable. Does that make any sense?

    "Sports" is a misprint. It’s "SPOTS." But yes, Pashtu is an Indo-European language, more closely related to Iranian (Farsi) than Indian languages.

    Thanks so much!


  • Sarah Chayes says:

    Hi, BW:

    Well seen. I’m not sure AIR in and of itself can have much of an impact. But if we don’t try, while we have the slim chance, what are we?

    Thanks for your concern,


  • E ve Lyman says:
    slide to anarchy

    Hi – I am the US coordinator of ACS and will attempt to answer some of these questions, as the electricity in Kandahar is barely working any more, and Sarah is having trouble with accessing the Internet. Amazingly enough, after the fall of the Taliban, the situation with electricity in Kandahar was perfect. There was never any problem, for almost a year, and now it is getting worse and worse. These are the kinds of things the US needs to do in order to stop the slide into anarchy.

    AIR will maybe, just maybe, at least begin to give the people a voice.

    The question is, at this point will they be afraid to use it?

  • Sydney Lewis says:

    Sarah, when you are able, please tell us a little bit more about your women’s team, their programming, and constitution discussions. What do they most want on air, what are their gravest concerns re: the constitution.

    Eve, thank you for pitching in and for the photos. How did you come to this project?

    thank you both for fitting us into your challenging days.

  • Thomas Marzahl says:
    Following Margaret Mead’s credo

    Logging in to Transom talk for the first time in half a year, and am glad to see that Sarah is finding the time to tell us about her work in Kandahar, and most of all, the work of the team at AIR.

    (good choice of name, btw, as a member of the US-based branch of AIR, or the indie radio producer group)

    Kudos to you for fulfilling another part of your dream, and for gathering a small group of thoughtful and committed people, who can make a difference, and help change the world a little bit… as Margaret Mead said I don’t know when.

    I’m writing a few hours after the suicide bomb attack in Najaf in Iraq, and hearing Sarah’s description of deteriorating security seemed all too appropriate… the parallels are eerie.

    I’m curious whether this radio station was always part of the Afghans for a Civil Society mission statement/goals when you hired on a year and a half or so ago, or whether it was a
    b gleam
    in your eye that gradually grew into reality.

    And how about the
    b interaction between men and women,
    in production and possibly even on the air, in the future? Do you foresee problems?

  • Jay Allison says:
    getting the word out

    Sarah, Eve, et. al: do people in Kandahar know the broadcast signal is imminent? If not, how will you let them know? What is the history there of radio as a communication tool? Does everyone have radios?

    Thank you for taking whatever time you can to post. We appreciate it.

    also, let’s try to find a way to get an aircheck. Will you record your first moments on the air? I hope so. We’d love to post them here.

  • Sarah Chayes says:

    Hi, Jay:

    I’ve grown very cautious, after a year and a half over here. I tend NOT to want to make splashy announcements, but just try to do the job as best we can. Then if we’re late, or if the inevitable hitches rear their hoary heads, we won’t be blamed or ridiculed. I’d rather word of mouth spread as people like our programming. Then we can start discreetly posting things around town. (Though posters etc. are not very popular here.)

  • Sarah Chayes says:

    Hi, Sydney:

    Women’s team is made up of: two high school principals, a monitor for German gvt. women’s programming, an educated woman whose husband won’t let her work outside the home (full time), and two illiterate housewives. They are wonderful. The constitutional discussions (funded by National Endowment for Democracy) were a rigorous working through of a questionnaire passed out by the Constitutional Commission, with questions about everything from how the constitution should treat the issue of religion, to whether there should be a president and a prime minister or just a president, the role of the king, how judges should be selected, etc. The women’s answers were very common-sensical and deep. But the questionnaire was so badly written it took us 4 2-hour sessions to get through 32 questions!! No way could ordinary Afghans, outside such a focussed context answer them. For full report, consult ACS website. There’s a link.

    Thanks for writing,


  • Jay Allison says:
    Link to ACS

    The link to Afghans for Civil Society is here:

  • Julia Barton says:


    This is a great project, and I’m glad you’re hanging on in Kandahar.

    I’m wondering if the Afghans you know are curious about your background and life outside the country. If so, what kind of questions do they ask you? And I have to ask, how do they feel about you wearing men’s clothes?

  • anisha says:
    radio work

    hey Sarah…
    how does one go about being a part of your team. or such other Independent radio networks.

  • Viki Merrick says:
    getting comfortable

    Sarah, I am in awe of what you are doing. Starting something with no memory, no imprint to expand upon. not to mention the setting. So I am bowing here to both you and Mr. Timor.
    You mentioned being not so good at getting comfortable. And this intrigues me – you have a daunting resume, if not travelogue, for a reporter. You tended to be present in some of the world’s more dangerous settings.
    Is it possible you got comfortable doing that? Too comfortable? Can you talk a little about what inspired you to stop reporting and take on the mission? Why Afghanistan and not the Balkans?
    I’m grateful if you can take the time. We’re cheering for your launch and hoping for an air check to celebrate.

  • Viki Merrick says:

    I woke up with more questions: How do you allow for letting genuine personality of the community infuse the programming? Is this a goal ? I don’t know if you ever had a chance to read the GOBI Wave discussion from Mongolia, but I was so struck by some of the brief moments in the day turned over to local pleasure if you will (singing, messaging). Maybe that flavor lies within "Flower Garden" and "Buds Opening" and "light of Islam:" what do you think?
    And I also woke up thinking about the woman whose husband won’t let her work…what does she stand for in "constituting the constitution"?You said she’s the best qualified, can you elaborate?

  • chelsea merz says:

    Dear Sarah. What you are doing is amazing. As you’ve lived all over the world has your identity as an American changed? Do you identify with being an American? Or do you consider yourself a citizen of the world? A million thanks for your time.

  • Nannette Drake Oldenbourg says:
    worth repeating

    Understatement: at above site you can find Interesting articles by Sarah Chayes about her and others efforts in Afghanistan

    e.g., how do you build Anything if a warlord has complete control of the foundation stones?

    [and Hi to Thomas. Nice to see you back here]

  • Sarah Chayes says:
    Why Afghanistan

    Hey, Viki:

    Maybe I am too comfortable with being…out there. Though I must say I do not consider myself a "war reporter." I am not a conflict junkie, rather a "chaos and rebirth" junkie. Many people asked me if I regretted not being in Iraq during the war. Not at ALL was my emphatic response…until the day Baghdad fell, when to my great surprise, I felt a little twinge.

    The Balkans DID inspire me, but what was different in Afghanistan was the leadership. I never felt in the Balkans that there was a single political leader with the vision or desire to really make a difference for his people. Here, the Karzais inspired me. Though I was pretty sure the odds are stacked very heavily against them. That’s why it felt like an obligation to…pitch in.

    I have steadily (in ebbs and flows) questioned the value of just reporting on these situations, rather than "doing something." I guess the moment of switching over was one of those transition moments when a number of factors come together at the same time — the inspiration, an invitation, a crystallizing sense of disappointment with US journalism at a key juncture (the anti-Taliban conflict).

  • Sarah Chayes says:
    Hi there!

    I should have known Thomas, the avid radio surfer, would surface!! Thanks so much for your kind note. Re gleam in my eyes. Frankly, on the contrary! Knowing what it takes to get even 4 minutes of radio on the air, I was the constant wet blanket on this project. Thank God for Timor! Re men and women…I forsee no problems…for those women who even have the permission to come and work. But they will probably be working separately at first.

    Best to you,


  • Sarah Chayes says:
    Questions from Afghans

    Very few questions of a typical Western searching kind. Afghans are quite discreet, verbally. So it usually comes down to am I married, how many siblings do I have, are both my parents alive. I assume most people assume I am a CIA agent, which frankly is good for my health, since folks are less likely to take pot-shots at me. This is typical of Americans working in conflict situations. Re men’s clothes. I certainly get some comments, and people ask me why I do. But I think there a kind of permissive zone for foreigners, a lot of things are accepted that wouldn’t be from Afghans. The fact that I speak a bit of Pashtu helps a lot.

  • Sarah Chayes says:


    Pow. I do consider myself an American. …I vaguely considered what it might be like adopting French citizenship, since I had lived there for years and actually knew my district’s rep. in National Assembly personally, but it just seemed false. I’m not French, I’m American. …and yet, I could never imagine coming back to the US for good. It is just too…far away from the world. I remember coming for some weeks immediately after Sept. 11th and feeling total disconnect with the reactions of almost everyone, including some really cosmopolitan friends…even though I was deeply moved of course. Am I a citizen of the world, or of nowhere? Everyone else seems to cleave to some place or geographic identity.

    Thanks for asking.

  • Edie Rubinowitz says:
    changing roles . .

    Hi Sarah!

    I was wondering if you talk a little bit more about the process of going from reporting on events to becoming part of the reconstruction efforts. Are there any reporting habits one has to break to "be part of the solution?"

    In the same general area, can you describe some of the other projects that Afghans for Civil Society has been involved in and how those interesect with the work of AIR?

    And lastly, I wonder if you’ve seen Tony Kushner’s "Homebody/ Kabul" on one of your visits here. If so, any thoughts?

    Thanks again for taking time to talk to us!

    All the best,


  • Jackson says:
    Nice Point, Edie

    And Sarah, you speak French sans accent.

    Sarah, there was an interesting point on a recent piece on The World where you had become a kind of spokesperson, though not about Afghan Independent Radio. Amplifying Edie’s point about your changing roles.

    And then there’s the emigre condition, nurtured during years in a foreign place. I remember as a 10-year-old in Dublin hiding under a bus seat at the sound of a Texan woman balking about the Irish monetary system. "Six shillings is six shillings, don’t you know?" Some 40 years later, the memory of the sound still hits the cringe nerve.

    But Kandohar is miles away from Kabul, which is thousands of miles away from the pleasant bistros of Paris which are thousands upon thousands of miles away from the roadhouse diners of Concord, Mass. I’m not sensing an immediate conversion experience here, but you’ve gone from a life where you could learn French with more than a touch of fluency — clearly, you have an ear for language — and acquire a language in a place where Americans are not necessarily the most beloved people on the planet.

    There is the story, and then there is your story. Do you wonder if, at some point, you will either try to sort them out or tell them together as part of an even greater narrative?

  • helen woodward says:
    The view from over there….

    Hello Sarah
    It is so difficult to get a real picture of what is going on over there from over here; media focus is generally trained on iraq right now, with only brief mention of what is going on in afghanistan, eg an increase in taliban activity. So how is the reverse situation, what kind of coverage do you get about developments in the US administration’s foreign policy over there? How easy is it for you, personally, to stay in touch with world news, or do you bother, is it superfluous to your daily life? for instance did you hear about bush’s address last night? how is he viewed? Does iraq look like a quagmire from over there?

    More importantly, how about the average afghan person on the street? what level of non-local news do they get? In sistering with the mongolian radio station Gobi Wave, I found out that there are a tiny number of radios per capita in Mongolia, like one for every 20 homes or something (can’t remember the exact number now)! it blows my mind that we get 24 hour news coverage in the West, from a multitude of media sources, and we feel in the dark, how does it feel from over there?

    Thankyou so much for taking the time to give us these updates, it is fascinating reading and I am full of admiration for you and your efforts.

  • helen woodward says:
    as I was saying…

    I checked my mongolia facts, in 1999 there were about 160000 radios for a population of 2.7 million, which is about 1 for every 17 people; almost the same number of TVs and only 30000 internet users.

    I, on the other hand, have 4 radios, 3 tvs with round the clock news at a click of a remote, the NY times delivered at weekends and 24 hour internet access to any newspaper I could possible imagine….. and I still know that I don’t know the real story in afghansitan or iraq or hardly anywhere.

    On the one hand, we (in US) have incredible access to what should be the most technologically-advanced and professional news media ever, and on the other, 70% of the US population still thinks saddam was behind sept 11th!!!

    my point, I think, is that if the coalition/the west is supposed to be convincing local people over there and in iraq, that they are trying to improve things, trying to do the right thing, then how are they being reached? and what kind of messages are they getting? who owns a radio in Kandahar?

    thanks again Sarah.
    (ps. above is based on the assumption that day to day life in Mongolia and afghanistan are more similar than, say, life on cape cod versus life in afghanistan)

  • helen woodward says:
    and one last thing….

    Just now I was reading about rummy’s visit to afghanistan. What kind of coverage is his trip getting, how is he viewed by locals, and by you and your colleagues? is it big news? how would it have been covered if your station were already up and running?

    thanks again, Ill stop posting I swear

  • Jackson says:
    Rummy pounds the critics!

    Following up on Helen’s question, I would dare to refine it somewhat. Many peoples around the world have been happy to distinguish between the American people and the American government. Do the Afghanis do the same?

    And I would follow a similar train of thought: we in the US have so much access (Helen, did you include the radio in your car in your total FM count?) that many of us can’t hear anything. What about newspapers in Kandahar? Literacy rates in the region? What about those little gadgets dropped down out of the sky, capable of tuning in only to Radio Free Afghanistan?

    From this side of the water, we occasionally get stories of Afghani exiles going back to participate in the renewal of their homeland. It would be interesting to see if they have come home with a swagger, or have they simply come home?

  • Rolf Siverson says:
    more questions

    Hello Sarah

    I have a few questions I want to throw into the mix.

    First, seeing as religion seems like a very important matter to the Afghanis, how is that going to play out in AIR’s programing? How much of the programing do you think will be devoted to religion ie. speeches by local clerics, you mentioned something about readings from the Koran, etc? On the logistical side, will the station be taking breaks at the hours of prayer?

    Second, I know in a lot of countries that have just come out of totalitarian rule where there is little or no free speech, there tends to be a general mistrust of the media, especially the news. Do you see that being a problem in the future, or is it a problem already, and what do you think is the best way to combat that?

    Third, what kind of support is AIR getting from the local community? Are people willing to lend a hand, or do people have a sort of ambivalent "wait and see" attitude, or are some people out right hostile? Is the local government involved? Do you want them to be?

    This seems like a really big job. Best of luck to you.

  • Jackson says:
    Access vs. Excess

    Rolf asks profound questions that tie in, curiously, to matters of access. And then, because as runners, drivers, broadband users, and radio freaks, we will follow any available stream to feed our Radio Jones, westerners may occasionally fall victim to the excess amount of access we in the west can enjoy.

    Not that I would understand it, but is there a web site where we could hear Afghani Independent Radio?

    Which in turn leads back to some interesting issues raised during other foreign-language radio postings here at Transom: St. John Chrysostum (whose iconography includes the bee) said that even if I don’t comprehend, my ear will be able to understand the holy word. Julia Bartow, for example, and Corey Flintoff.

    Would we be willing here at Transom to hear more of what we cannot comprehend?

  • Sarah Chayes says:
    Changing roles

    Dearest Edie:

    I think I always identified with my stories a bit more than most reporters, so what I really feel is a sense of relief to for that characteristic to be fitting in better. Also, it is a pleasure NNOT to have to put a microphone in people’s faces…much more intimacy — mikes turn out to be a big barrier, and you have to be constantly calculating the degree to which a person is just expressint him or her-self, and the degree to which they’re modifying for the mike. Note also that this particular reconstruction job, due to the odd circumstance of being connected with the Afghan president’s (very analytical) brother, involves more policy analysis and discussion than just about any other. So for me it’s the perfect mixture. Re our other projects, just because of impossible internet access I would refer folks to our website:

  • Sarah Chayes says:
    access — in Pashtu

    Internet is still a nightmare. We FINALLY have ours working, thanks to a satellite dish that juts directly across the verandah in front of our office where we hang out in the evenings and hold monthly poetry evenings. So much for our unborn children. Re understanding. I LOVE the poetry events, though I understand hardly a word. The meter is wonderful, and participants show their appreciation much like the congregation in a black baptist church chimes in on the gospel.

  • Sarah Chayes says:
    The world out there

    Helen. DON’T stop posting. It’s great. I’ve tried to answer yours about 4 times. Internet blues. Forgive long silence also…we brought members of our women’s radio team — also the law group — to meet Pres. Karzai and tell him about their constitution. It was an amazing experience…two of them housewives with no education, going to all these Kabul meetings…you could feel their confidence growing.

    Re outside news… It’s a professional deformation, as the French say, but I tend to throw myself pretty thoroughly into wherever I am. It feels like the whole world. I do listen to a few minutes of BBC World Service every AM, and devour magazines that come our way once a month or so. Afghans listen avidly to the BBC, in company often. But as that’s Pashtu/Farsi service, it tends to be rather — if not exclusively — regionally focused. From my perspective, especially given what I’ve been witnessing, Iraq looks not only like a predictable quagmire, but perhaps a pretty well planned one. Could the lightening defeat of Saddam’s forces have been due to a strategic withdrawal?

    Best to you,


  • Sarah Chayes says:

    Lots of people have radios, BBC being the news source of choice. No newspapers to speak of, literacy about 15 percent in town!

  • Sarah Chayes says:

    Hi, Rolf:

    Religion IS a big deal in Kandahar, though people are much less ideologically motivated than one would think, given the previous regime. We will open each broadcast day with a short Qur’an reading, but only one of our weekly programs is devoted to religious subjects, and it will tend to offer non-wahhabi/fundamentalist readings of some of the most important teachings of Islam. Timor is an amazingly gentle, open-hearted/minded man. Re the public, we are trying not to trumpet ourselves much. Public support, hopefully, will come with good programming. Re government. New Kandahar governor and communoications minister are informed. Don’t want any more involvement than that. Stay tuned re their reaction!

  • Sarah Chayes says:
    my story

    …the problem is, I have always LOATHED the first person in journalism. Then some folks came to do a documentary on us, rebuilding a village (Life After War. Will air on the Sundance Channel in late December). I knew I was the vehicle for the story, for getting viewers to identify with this moonscape of a place, but I was pretty shocked when I saw the thing the first time. It was largely about me. What an eyes-open violation of my principles!! But it does get tangled up…the former governor of Kandahar blaming me for his getting fired — and lord knows I worked at it — or telling him to "slap him on the ass" if I ever have a bone to pick with him…and the entanglements go on from there. I’ll probably never get it sorted out. But that’s part of the fun of this incarnation.



  • Sydney Lewis says:

    sarah, have there been any stories you’ve longed to do during this amazing adventure? are you taking lots of notes, recording at all? also, any thoughts on where you will next journey? thank you again for your presence on transom.

  • Thomas Marzahl says:
    On-Air Debut?

    Hi Sarah and AIR staff and volunteers,

    Offline for most of the last two weeks, just catching up on two dozen postings. I wonder whether AIR has gone on the air as planned a little over a week ago.

    If so, what was the first broadcast day like? More like a marathon runner collapsing as s/he crosses the finish line – enfin! – or were there smiles and laughter all around?

    Given spotty internet access and constant crashes, I’m sure all of us would love a thumbnail sketch of the first day.

    Your presence and energy and commitment in Kandahar and southern Afghanistan will work wonders in their own special way. And though I don’t doubt that you will probably pop up in another hot spot in the world in a few years’ time, for now, I hope you stay put in Afghanistan… it’s a monstrous task.

    By the way, hi from the folks at Le Barometre.

  • Jay Allison says:

    The last we heard from Sarah and Eve, the new projected launch date is in early October. Eager to hear what happens, we’re going to keep this guestship in place until then.

  • Jay Allison says:

    Sarah is still busy with the launch. She says she will check in with us again when it is near.

    In the meantime, we will be welcoming new guests, but you may check this topic for news of Sarah and her remarkable effort with Afghans for a Civil Society.

    And, thank you so much, Sarah, for taking the time to share your work with us. Stay in touch. Good luck.

  • Craig Bourgeois says:
    saw you on the "Now" program


    I saw you last night with Bill Moyers. My next door neighbor is a Muslim, and I know many Muslims here in diverse Houston. Just this morning I discussed your interview with a Pakistani friend, and he was appalled to hear how young women are pressured in Afganistan to NOT go to school. He says this is not what the Koran teaches. Your work is inspiring. Hopefully, you will come to Houston to speak sometime. I would like to hear more about your work, and conditions in Afganistan.


  • Mack Heaven says:
    Business Owner

    Just saw Sarah’s story on the nightly news in Ohio and would like to praise her for her majestic courage. Keep up the good work!

  • anne ross says:

    just wrote sarah a fairly long message that vanished completely when i hit a wrong key. could scream… i work for calvin klein in NY- any chance you got it? if not i’ll re-group tomorrow…

  • Gene/Chizuko Malloy says:

    Great effort on your part despite the frustrations being faced. We wish you and the Afghani people well.

  • annre ross says:

    i’m terribly sorry. i sent the most inane message that i didn’t think went through last night just to test, as everytihing i’d previously tried had vanished- naturally this one did not.
    essentially what i wanted to say is that purely by accident i came upon "Life After War" on monday, and found it amazing, enlightening and inspiring. i actually stayed home on friday to watch it again, but i think the remaining air times are maybe twice again at 4:35am- tough even for me.- which is a pity, b/c there are details i would like to have a look at again.
    in any case, for all of my career, i’ve worked in fashion, and for more time than i’d care to admit, even to myself- most recently as senior producer for Calvin Klein- i’ve coddled, transported and babysat adolescent drug-crazed models and impossibly demanding photographers making up to $75,000 per day and arguing over what brand of granola was going to be served for breakfast, to all ends of the earth.
    monumentally unrewarding intellictually, if not financially- but it has nevertheless just continued to go on and on, year after year.
    at the risk of sounding trite, having seen your dedication and EXTREME composure, under the most daunting of circumstances, i can’t help feel a profound sense of admiration for your accomplishments and efforts, and it was just the "kick" i needed to get out of this business.
    i read your letter from august citing your "skeleton crew". don’t know how things have progressed subsequently, but if there is anything- underline anything i can do to be of help, please let me know.
    i really do mean that, and best of luck- you are one of the very few people overseas to show the world a favorable view of americans.
    for that, thank you.

  • annre ross says:
  • annre ross says:

    hey jay-
    i thought you’d be the best one to ask- just saw "Life After War: on monday, which i loved, even if she didn’t, but i just posted a message and not sure if she’s even still checking. any idea??
    anne ross,
    oh- would you mind direct e mailing me at anne @
    thanks again.

  • annre ross says:
    your story

    i haven’t got enough information to properly respond to the violations of your principles you refer to, as for the first person approach, yes, i agree that historically it has nearly without exception come off as self iindulgentand boring. the element of the narration off-set this aadequatelyenough for you not to need to be too concerned about that with Life After War.
    the director/producer/ whoever made the decision to go that route was not incorrect, if targeting a broader demographic to gain awareness of the :situation" was a goal, featuring you that prprominentlyas a success.
    i suppose i would be a personal case in point. yes, my ALARM CLOCK is set to NPR, but my exposure is limited to that one hour ( on a slow day) in the morning. for the remainder of the day. and unfortunately the majority of the nights, i am producing the global advertising campaigns for CALVIN KLEIN, for god’s sake!
    come on- not your average audience!
    i was rivited the minute i glanced up at the telivision, which as i said previously, i caught by pure accident. you were poised and eloquent when clearly many times you wanted to scream, intelligent and compassionate, and just generally displayed a palpable sense of grace under pressure that was impossible to turn away from.
    it’s a pity that you were unhappy with some of the content, but don’t underestimate the power of your role in guiding the viewers through the experience.
    i am so far from your core following that its almost embarassing, as la fashionista- but i havent stopped talking about the film and your work to everyone in the business who will listen …well…, i’m sticking initially to those who can actually read and write-keeps it slim… (smile)
    in any case, if spreading the word and increasing support base was what you had in mind by participating in the film, i hate to tell you this, but the high proflie level of your participation was precisely what was needed to accomplish that.
    as you can see, where i come from i’ve had to sacrifice idealism for commercialsim for a looooooong time, and a lOT- look at the ad campaigns. ( as a point of interest, for each campaign we shoot ,every season we have to take a seperate "middle east shot", which consists of throwing every bit of wardrobe on top of formerlly 1/2 (at best) naked models and taking a shot showing no skin. out of a 7 day shoot, approximately 5 minutes is devoted to this- let me tell you, it’s a real crowd-pleaser (umm,,,NOT!)
    if you think you did that just a tiny bit here-albeit unintentionally- rest assured that the end justified as "they" say, the means- in my unsolicited opinion.
    as i said earlier, i would like to help in any way i can, either from new york, or wherever the need is greatest, asuming i can pull it off on my end.
    think this is the longest e mail ive ever written to someone i’ve never even met!
    you’ve made a lot of us very proud, and thanks for that…

  • Patrick T. King says:
    CEB machines from Tajikistan

    I am an American volunteer consultant and adviser to the construction industries of the former Soviet Union. I have been doing this for over ten years now and my areas also include Azerbaijan, Kazakstan and Tajikistan.
    I can somewhat relate to Ms. Chayes, hardships, situation, and her calling and I very much appreciate and commend her efforts and determination in Afghanistan.
    I am please to announce the Afghan’s, along with the American’s and Tajik’s, have successfully opened a direct overland trade route between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. This is a very positive step in helping to stabilize these regions and assist in their construction industry development.
    I wish to inform you that today the Tajik’s are in the process of beginning the production of very affordable CEB (compressed earth block) machines in Duchanbe. These same machines are in use in South America and in China. A single machine can produce extremely stable, uniform, interlocking blocks for the construction of homes, medical clinics, schools, etcetera, using mostly the soil around them. The CEB structures are far better than the adobe brick being used today, can be attractively finished inside and out, and are seismically superior to adobe brick construction. This recent earthquake tragedy in Iran attests to the poor stability of adobe brick construction.
    Perhaps the Afghan Housing Authority or any group who is assisting in the Afghan housing situation, can contact Mr. Temursho Imatshoev at Pragma Corp. This not-for-profit organization in Dushanbe is overseeing the CEB production. Regarding information or acquisition of such machine(s)contact: or me at
    Thank you
    Patrick T. King

  • Silvia says:
    I am moved by your actions in Afghanistan


    I saw your story on Oprah this morning, and you really moved me and I am in awe of what you have and are doing in Afghanistan. What the world would be like if only we had others like you. I am very interested in finding out more about how help can be offered to help you in this cause for humanity.

    Thank you,

    Silvia Ramirez

  • Andy Knight says:

    For my fellow radio nerds who likely missed today’s Oprah episode, Sarah was given a "Chutzpah Award". They showed some footage of Sarah’s efforts to rebuild a village in Afghanistan. Then she appeared on the show in person for a short Q&A with Oprah.

    Belated congratulations are also in order for Sarah being chosen as World News Tonight‘s Person of the Week for the first week of last December.

    Life After War is due to start airing on the Sundance Channel in May.

  • Margaret Shaw says:
    Message for Sarah Chayes

    Hello Sarah
    By strange coincidence, day off work (sick), lying flicking channels and saw you on the Oprah Show.
    Unusual story and very inspiring. Good on you for daring to be different etc. etc.
    Then a distant memory in my brain about one-never-met cousin on my mothers side also doing work in a village in Afghanistan. Surely there can’t be two of you! If it is you – I would love to be in contact. My mother – Betty Wilmer, your father John.
    Let me know anyway if you can. Maybe your travels will bring you to Australia (where I am) one day, you never know.
    Anyway won’t drivel on.
    Peace and Energy
    Margaret (Shaw)

  • Amy Beatty says:
    Sarah, just adding on to Margaret and Andy, et al…

    I heard you on the Commonwealth Club of CA broadcast on KALW, SF and frankly, I was just nearly crying with relief that someone is speaking sense. You are now up there reigning over my world along with Medea Benjamin and Christiana Amanpour. If you have any suggestions on current activist movements (I’m already involved with CodePink, but things like the horrors in Sudan, the hypocrisy and just general strangeness of Reagan worship – I’m Berkeley born and raised and what he did to the people in my town, my state, and then my country, and the world along with Thatcher… (breath). You see where I’m going with this. Things are getting a little too odd and I’m getting a touch annoyed. So! Taking your excellent example, I feel personally ready for serious commitment involvement, hands-on direct action. Sarah, you’re such a blessing, and for anyone who feels the same as I knows of any movement, please write back. :D I’m not saying we have take the Weather Underground approach, but let’s in this country try to protest loudly some of this madness, or I might have to pack up and head to foreign climes to see if I can be of any any ANY help at all there. Pax.

  • Noli Bytyqi says:
    Trying to get in touch with Sarah Chayes

    Hi Sarah! Do you remember me? It`s Noli from Prizren. Oh boy, its very hard to get hold of you. I tried to e-mail you but i think that you are not using the same account anymore. There are a lot of new things here in Kosovo and i might come to Afghanistan. All the best and i`d be happy if you reply. Noli

  • Reactor says:
    Thank you

    Hello Sarah,

    Where do I start? Well, I’m a media grad student who was turned on to "transom" by my prof. I’ve been trying to come up with a paradigm similar to AIR for a project in NE Thailand. I’ve been living overseas for about three-years and could relate to your statement about being a citizen of the world and not wanting to return to the USA as I have similar feelings.

    Anyway, I admire what your doing and am very happy that I stumbled across the information about your work. It looks like an amazing experience and I wish you the best.

    So I wanted to say thank you for your selflessness and willingness to do the work that this world is in badly need of.

    Warm regards

  • Gisela Koestner says:
    Hope you are well

    I think of you ever so often and wonder and hope you are well. I wish my PBS station would report on you and your work more often.

    Be well; no doubt many people are keeping you in their hearts.

  • Melissa Sinclair says:
    ‘Voter Education’ amongst Women

    Dear Ms. Chayes,

    I am so inspired by your work, which I just learned of today during an interview a State Dept. rep who served in Afghanistan. I am a graduate student working on a mock-up policy recommendation paper for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. When asked how to best do ‘voter education’ with women, the man I was interviewing thought for a blank moment and replied, “Sarah Chayes. You need to talk to Sarah Chayes.”

    So, I direct my question to you. My research has suggested most voter education in Afghanistan is done through radio broadcasts and by campaigning (politicians shaking hands and making speeches type stuff). Does this reach women? Do women have access to radios? What do we do to work toward active, informed participation by women in the next round of elections?

    Your reply is greatly appreciated. And your story is incredibly inspiring… thank you for giving hope and courage to others of us to follow in your steps!


  • jdavis says:
    trying to reach Ms. Chayes

    I am trying to reach Sarah Chayes to discuss a project in Afghanistan. My e-mail is listed above.
    Joyce DAvis

  • Bruce Gellerman says:
    radio journalist

    Please, email me regarding a possible source of funding for your Afghan efforts which my colleague and I are putting together. Would like to speak with you at your convenience. Bruce.

  • Cara Cutler says:
    also trying to reach Ms. Chayes

    I am also trying to reach Sarah Chayes. My email address is

    Cara Cutler

  • mona elchin says:

    my family apparently left afghanistan over 100 years ago. but i feel that i would like to be the first of my family to return to afghanistan even if it’s only for a visit. Is there anything a single woman can do to help in afghanistan. I am a fashion designer and maybe I could volunteer or help woman open up sewing factories.Anything else I would be interested. my email address is .

  • Rebecca Stengel says:
    going back

    I am a student from the U of Arizona. I was in Iran for a year and then spent another year around Afghanistan, Pakistan and C. Asia. I speak Persian and had no problem with the Dari variation. I am trying to get back to Afghanistan with a purpose. Do you need an assistant?

    Becky Stengel

  • brandon Sasnett says:

    Ms. Chayes,

    I am a statistical analyst that is very much interested in how your reconstruction projects are effecting the economy in southern Afghanistan. It all sounds so progressive and as security wanes, I would like to provide any input or help that I can.

    Brandon Sasnett

  • Earl Ola says:
    Earl Ola

    Would like Sarah Chayes email address.
    Earl Ola
    Morriston Florida USA

  • Earl Ola says:
    Earl Ola

    Ms Sarah Chayes
    Enjoyed your appearance on Jim Lehr’s PBS show.
    I’ve worked in 11 countries, + some major island groups, in Egypt and Iran (for the Shah). My French wife Michele was one of Europe’s most successful classic ballerina’s, dancing in many Euro movies & TV shows before retiring to work with vulnerable kids in Europe, Morocco, and the USA, where we had a home for abused kids.
    You stated that many Afghan opium farmers would grow something else IF they had a market. I may be able to show you how to develop a market right in Afghanistan that would not only provide consistent income for farmers but would also provide significant employment opportunities for Afghanis.
    Earl Ola – farmer – author.
    Morriston Florida USA

  • monaedesigns says:
    sarah chayes

    i would like to email sarah. i saw her on the news hour on pbs and would like to travel to kandahar to help out. also been a wholesaler for 30 years in south florida

  • Larry Oppenheimer says:
    Pashtu "Linguists" for US Army

    I have a small consulting firm. Several of my clients provide Pashtu interpreters and translators for the US Gov — both US based and local nationals. You have briefly mentioned some issues about hired linguists in your book that ring true to me. Could you please answer some questions? First, is there a map showing the prevalance of the main Pashtu tribes? Second, why is there no demand for Hazara speakers? Third, are Waziri and Pashayi separate languages, or can Pahtoons understand them? Is Wardek separate? Fourth, what tribes seem to dominate the US hires that the Army uses?

    Thank you very much.

    Larry Oppenheimer

  • Carol Korte says:
    Buy your products.

    Ms. Chayes,
    Your work is remarkable. I would like to buy some of your products but I am unable to purchase on any internet site I have found. Please help all of us help you.

    Carol Korte

  • Dick Pedersen says:
    Regaining Contact

    Would like to regain contact with Sarah; pls pass my email to her: thanks

  • Melanie says:
    Heard Sarah and have an idea …

    It sounds as if there is not enough product from Sarah’s co-op venture to buy products from this season, so perhaps we simply promote rose oil products generally as a way to grow demand in this singular product line (rose, almond, pom) as their production comes on line, and as a way to divert some of the profits to re-seeding fields and buying equipment to produce the products. Just a thought. Let me know how to send monies to support.

  • Angela Crandall says:
    Contact parliament

    I would like to contact Ms. Chayes about appearing before a parliamentary committee in Canada. Would you please give her my e-mail and ask her to contact me.
    Angela Crandall

  • Bronwyn says:
    Ms. Chayes’ email contact information

    I work for the Canadian International Development Agency and would like to speak to Ms. Chayes. Would it be possible to provide me with her email address?
    Thank you,

  • Jose Ocasio says:
    Ms. Chayes’ email contact information

    I just finished reading Sarah’s book, The Punishment of Virtue. Have some questions for her in reference to Afghanistan and have some ideas in support of economic and diplomatic development that I am interested in her input. Can provide more details upon contact. Would it be possible to provide me her email address?


  • roger floyd says:
    from a noble chef to Abe/Toni "1984 roger floyd…

    don’t know if you recall..but after workin f/yer folk’s..was able to arrange a dinner w/mom and john denver at his house in aspen…i believe the summer of was a treat for me to have her meet jd..she was there for a symposium..i went on as personal assistant to john for 7 years,and was a close compadre till his mishap in the sky above carmel…anyway i heard your voice on NPR a few years back/f/afghan…and it brought to mind your face…a hepburnish as i recall…i heard of your father’s passing..he was such a pleasure..we would share some scotch,triscuts,&cheese before dinner,and i remember him comin back f/nicaragrua w/a hammock given to him from daniel ortega…your mother…her smile and steadfast resonance is an admiration…so Sarah Chayes,from a reclusive gardener,residing in manitou springs,beneath the red mountain they call "pikes peak"i wish you the best you ever dreamed of each and every day…con dios…xxx RO

  • teresa Proctor says:


    I am host a radio program dedicated to Women living their passion, connecting with their hearts, speaking their truth and being heard!

    I invite you to share your passion with other Women and how you are taking the steps to live your dreams. "Wise Divas" begins Aug. 7 2007.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

  • Flutura says:
    Looking for SARAH

    I met Sarah in streets of Tirana,Albania while I was trying to help my family as we needed food…but,we had to register and wait for the list so we could get humanitarian aid within 3 weeks… I stopped Sarah in the street without knowing who is she, but knew that is a foreigner and asked for help… this is how I know Sarah, this was our beginning…later on, we lost our communication somehow… now I want to be in contact with you Sarah if possible. I have to tell you so many things, so many things happened since after you left Prishtina, Kosovo… we can talk for hours…

    I saw a message from NOL a guy from Prizren,I knew him, but unfortunately he passed away, he left behind a small son and a wife… My father, a journalist…passed away… I have to tell you so many things, please contact me at: I am in Afghanistan now. I know what is war, poverty…I experiened myself

    warm regards,

  • lynn says:
    Paulines Daughter

    This Paulines daughter Lynn:
    Please contact me I want to help:

  • lynn says:
    Abe /Toni re re.

    I was there too in Aspen that lovely year: My Mom Pauline (God rest her heart) The Chayes Houskeeper and bringer upper of E/L/A/S/A.
    I rememeber us all walking down main street in Aspen off to a restaurant, when a guy driving an SUV honked and waved at me..Toni shouted She is a married woman..The guy was so distracted he crashed into a lampost..he was not hurt, we laughed a lot for a long time…some memories come back when jarred..Lynn Prothero

  • Bruce Droste says:

    Katheen Rauol would be SO proud of you!

    You were on track when you were 7!

    Bruce D….formerly with D Forbes)

  • farhat says:
    want to buy soap sarah’s factory make in afgahanistan

    Dear Sarah,
    I don’t know how to thank you for what you are trying to do in Afghanistan. It is because of the noble work and compation of people like you this world is going on other wise when I look arroud things are very depressing every where. Keep up the good work my prayers are with you. Let know how can I help you.


  • Ruth Lang says:
    I admire your work

    I saw the Bill Moyers interview with Sarah this week. I admire the fact that you got yourself into action to make the world a better place, even though it sounds like you have placed yourself at significant personal risk. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with Bill Moyers and the rest of us, and for enlightening us on the current situation in Afghanistan.

    Ruth Lang in San Francisco

  • Mark Nardolillo says:
    Thank you and what can we do

    Dear Sarah,

    When I first recall you leaving NPR I was disappointed. I always enjoyed your pieces. But in tracking your efforts sine 2002 and then seeing the Moyers interview, its obvious how the Afghan people and Americans have been greatly served by your dedication and inspiring courage. But other than buying products or making a donation to your commercial soap/cosmetic business what else can the concerned citizen do?

    Thanks and may God keep you safe

  • Jim Briola says:
    I saw your interview with Bill Moyers

    Some time ago I started a small sign and lighting service business here in Ohio. I am well aware of the personal belief, commitment, dedication and hard work it takes to make a small business succeed. Each person has an inherent need to determine his or her own future. Owning and operating a business is the way. I would like to make a donation to provide additional cash flow for the soap cosmetic business. How can I do that?