Veteran and linguist loses her words: Living with aphasia

Her mission was to bridge the cultural gap between the United States and Afghanistan and introduce the literature of the region to Arizona. (Source: Felisa Hervey)

"The question I'd like to pose tonight is, can we see beyond the frame? And can we see beyond the frame in Afghanistan?" Felisa Hervey asked a Tucson audience in 2013.

Her mission was to bridge the cultural gap between the United States and Afghanistan and introduce the literature of the region to Arizona.

A poet, writer, and student of Middle Eastern culture, Hervey spent years in Afghanistan as an Air Force captain and civilian. Proficient in five languages, her skills were important to the military presence in Afghanistan.

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An Air Force Academy graduate, her tour ended, and she continued her work as a private contractor coaching military teams on communicating with the Afghan people.

She planned on bringing women poets from Afghanistan to Arizona to showcase their work, she translated Persian poetry from Dari to English. Publishing under a pen name Farzana Marie, she also co-founded the non-profit Civil Vision International.

Her work was halted when she suffered a stroke on Aug. 29, 2015. She now struggles to find her words. "I am sad, and frustrated, and angry," she said.

Hervey takes part in programs for her recovery at the Aphasia Center of Tucson. Dr. Fabi Hirsch says those with aphasia haven't lost their cognitive ability.

"The thinking skills are all there," she said. "It is just being able to access them, to get them out. So, it's doubly (sic) frustrating for people with aphasia."

For more information on this condition that impacts 2 million Americans, go to http://friendsofaphasia.com/.

And if you'd like to support Felisa Hervey as she focuses on her recovery, donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/j3338rzk

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