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The gardeners of Kabul

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For decades Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, has has seen violence and terror. One way the Omaris have coped has been by tending to their garden.

Five hundred years ago, the Emperor Babur laid out beautiful gardens in the city of Kabul, now the capital of Afghanistan. The lush green spaces provided a peaceful retreat when he returned from battle.

Over the centuries, the Emperor’s favourite garden was battered by war but has now been lovingly restored to its former glory. The gardeners (Mr. and Ms. Omari) are keeping the Emperor’s legacy alive. In the private gardens of Afghans who find refuge among their plants and flowers from the stresses of a violent city.

They say that “its a story of war, flowers and our friendship with them”. They staid in the city during the civil war because the garden needed watering. “There was so much fighting. We were surrounded and couldn’t go outside”. Mr. Omari would fetch water from the river across the road while rockets were still falling. So Omaris came up with another solution. They dig a well. They worked hard digging for five hours until they reached the groundwater.

Ms. Omari: “I will never forget how happy we felt. Nothing else mattered, not even the rockets as we watered our wines and flowers”.
Mr. Omari: “I am so happy when I work in the garden. I talk to my plants and they talk to me. They say. Scratch my back, give me water and give me food. I lose myself and sometimes when my wife is calls me I cannot hear her as I am busy with my flowers”.
Ms. Omari: “I wish that one day we see flowers every-where and hear music and that people live in peace with freedom and without war”.