Interview with Jamaican Born Staff Sgt. Anya Williams in Afghanistan

This month we interview Jamaican born Staff Sgt. Anya Williams who is deployed in  Afghanistan . Sgt. Anya Williams is serving as a historian cataloging everything her unit does. She has been in Afghanistan since February 2009. This 26 year old is vibrant and positive about her service in the US army.

Q. Why did you join  the army in a time of war?

I chose to join the Army because after looking forward to the future the
military was a reoccurring possibility. In my view, the war is an inevitable
event that I was aware of before I joined and had no impact on my

Q.  What did your family think?

My family were supportive, but worried.

Q.  How did you feel when you heard you would be deployed in  Afghanistan?

I was nervous after learning that our mission changed, so I started
researching everything about Afghanistan. Then I realized this was now a
part of my life so I had to complete the mission at hand.

Q. What do you believe is the biggest misconception being deployed in a War

The greatest misconception is that there is no normalcy. There will be
constant gun battles, with casualties everywhere, and the war will be
visible at all times.

Q. Are you treated differently being a woman in a Muslim country?

I do not feel like I am, and this maybe a result of being constantly aware
of the culture and trying to respect the people around me.

Q. What is the typical day like for you as a historian?

My typical day begins with the CG Stand Up to get any pertinent information
that has to do with the unit, attending meetings, completing other work
obligations ( different position), and working on the unit history.

Q. Do you get to interact with the Afghan people on your missions? What are
they like?

I do not take part in missions outside the wire, but I have been
volunteering with a school located on post where I get to interact with
Afghan children. They are mainly boys, and they are the stereotypical
rambunctious and inquisitive group.

Q.  Do you think your Jamaican culture helps you with your interactions with
the Afghan people?

Yes I believe so. Jamaicans tend to be more laid back and allow things to
happen. Our attitude is more open to others and sharing information rather
than teaching or changing.

Q: Have you tried Afghan food? Did you like it?

No , I have not had the opportunity to try Afghan food.

Q.  When people in  Afghan learn about your Jamaican background what are
ome of the questions they ask?

Some questions are what language do you speak? Why did you leave? What is the food like? Is it as beautiful as pictures or movies suggests.

Q. What is the weirdest question you have been asked about Jamaica?

Does the Marijuana plant grow everywhere?

Q: Is there any Jamaican food you yearn for?

Ackee and Salt fish, escovich fish, and fruits.

Q.  Have you picked up any of the Afghan language?

Not really, I’ve been trying but the Jamaican accent changes the sound of
the words.

Q. What is next for you when you return to the US?

When I return to the US I will be completing my MS in Justice
Administration, attending OBC, and finding somewhere to live.

Q. What reggae song will we find as the most played in your IPod?

The Reggae song in my IPOD right now is HOT GAL by ALLEY CAT

Q: Thanks for the interview. Any final thoughts? Any Shout Outs?

Final thought is that I am glad of the decision and career path I have
chosen. I’m doing things I never thought about doing previously. One shout
out my Grandma living in Bunker’s Hill, Trelawny.

About the author

Xavier Murphy