When news broke that the Taliban had taken control of the presidential palace in Kabul, Jenny Donovan was taking a meeting with the United Nations Habitat teams in Afghanistan.
"We were hearing via Skype from the people in the meetings that there was the Taliban in the compound, and that it was happening in many cities," she said.
"You could hear it in people's voices - the panic, and just the shock. It's something you'll never forget."
Ms Donovan, a planner and urban designer from Burnie in north west Tasmania, had been working with the UN-Habitat from February last year on a community development project.
That came crashing down as the race to get home to Australia started instead.
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"From about April it was very clear that the Taliban, or the de facto authorities as they're described now, were on the ascendancy.
"The advice we were getting at the time was that there was probably going to be some change of government, but it wouldn't happen for probably a year. From late July to early August things began to move very quickly."
You could hear it in people's voices - the panic, and just the shock. It's something you'll never forget.
That only increased from August 15. Urgent calls were being made everywhere you turned, and time was no one's friend.
"The lowest point," Ms Donovan said, "was probably at the airport, after we'd left the compound and we were stuck for three days because the Taliban wasn't letting us out.
"The word hostage wasn't used, but the fact that we weren't let out for our safety - 200 international staff in a compound - was something of a significant issue.
"One of the saddest things... was the looks of disappointment. The development projects we'd been working on would come to nothing.
"Then I think we had 30 hours at the airport, which was nothing compared to a lot of people."
Having worked with the UN for years now, Ms Donovan said you were often faced with seeing communities at some of their lowest points.
However, you also get to be a part of the recovery, and to see the power of community pride, firsthand.
It's what has led her to work in Sri Lanka, in the aftermath of tsunamis, and Ethiopia, Montenegro, Canada.
She's spent months working on projects in Palestine, facilitating workshops with locals to redesign open spaces and see the "manifestation of hope" shine through, and hadn't been planning on leaving Afghanistan just yet last year.
People shouldn't underestimate the power of urban planning, Ms Donovan said.
"I've always been fascinated and enthralled by the built environment around us, and the difference it can make to different people's lives.
"And community development. It's about getting communities involved in making their own futures.
"When we work on projects... people saw them as symbols of things getting better."
Ms Donovan said she was still in regular contact with her friends and colleagues in Afghanistan, but that communication could be spotty.
It was a challenge being so far away from them - but then, that's the job.
"Most of them are still in Afghanistan, some have gotten out," she said. "Nearly all of them have applied to get out but in most cases, no matter where they apply to, they're waiting for application to be considered.
"Sometimes (someone) doesn't respond and you fear the worst. ...They're at least still alive. I wouldn't go so far as to say okay."
Ms Donovan said, particularly for her female colleagues, it was hard seeing the restrictions that had been put on their lives.
"The women are in such distress. Life has become so much more challenging."
Take the woman who had sat next her everyday for months, for example. She was an engineer, and a good one at that.
It's a male-dominated industry at the best of times, let alone in a country such as Afghanistan which, while changing, was still working to overcome gender equality hurdles.
"She's very good at her job, but now she's not even allowed outside her home without a male guardian."
Ms Donovan now lives and works in Burnie.
Most recently she's worked with the Waratah-Wynyard council on their liveability strategy, and has just taken up a role with the Cradle Coast Authority to continue her work in urban planning and community development.
"I find it immensely rewarding, satisfying work," she said. "Good planning should be invisible.
"It (happens) because the community got together."
While there's always going to be a part of her ready to be called to a new project overseas, Ms Donovan said of all the places she's lived, Tassie is the one that feels most like home.
"Sometimes people say it to takes a long time to find out where you're from," she said. "I think I'll always come home to here."
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