You wouldn't think a brightly-colored headscarf would be typical daily wear for women serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. But right now in Afghanistan, teams of female soldiers are covering their heads
in an effort to connect with Afghan women currently living under strict Taliban rule.
As reported by NPR, the all-female teams were established two months ago in order to try to establish a relationship with the sheltered and isolated women living in the region's most dangerous provinces, providing them with medicine and hygiene products and hoping to ask them some questions in return.
Despite the fact that tradition doesn't forbid girl-to-girl conversations, the teams still find it difficult to make those connections, because their very presence in Afghanistan is strange to the villagers with whom they interact. And in order to talk to the women, they must get the permission of the men first.
But in the words of reporter Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, "Sherwood and other Marines with the female-engagement teams in Helmand province exhibit a lot of optimism and patience." It's a testament to the power of sisterhood, or the bond that comes when you give a tampon to a stranger in need.