One of the blessings in the last month is that Winter has reconnected with a local friend from ISK, and they have been getting together every other week. For this week, our family was invited for lunch at their house. We live in Kabul but more on the outskirts. They live in the heart of the city near all the embassies. It was, as driving here usually is, an adventure to get from our house to theirs. (I wasn’t driving, thankfully.) Thirty minutes later, we arrived all in one piece and at the right house. I had never been to their house so we were depending on the directions of Winter and David.
As soon as we arrived, I was introduced to the father, mother, and their lady helper. The father I had met before at parent teacher conferences. The mother quickly welcomed me into her home as she enveloped me with a big hug. They were sad that Noel was not able to come but understood that he was needed at the airport. For the first part of our visit, we sat in their saloon (which is what they call their living room) with Winter’s friend and her father. Green tea with cardamon was brought as well as a tray filled with dried chickpeas, pistachios and a few others things. As Winter, David, and Winter’s friend talked, the friend’s father and I discussed the closing of ISK, the suicide bombing in Jalabad the day before, and other events going on in Afghanistan and around the world. The father comes from an educated family. He actually received his degree from a university in California. Currently he is working with some type of shipping company here in Afghanistan.
Soon lunch was ready, and we all sat to eat. We had the traditional qabli palau as well as kebobs and salad. Even though you think you are eating a lot of food, your hosts usually think you need to eat still more. It was all delicious. During the meal and after, I sat by the mother and was able to hear her story. She was a judge. For many years, she had worked as a criminal judge in Afghanistan. She had been threatened after refusing a bribe, and one time a car followed her children home from school. Her most scary story was about when a just, convicted man grabbed his guard’s weapon and threatened to shoot everyone in the courtroom. She told me that she quickly went under the table and stayed there until the gunman left. Due to the threats not only on her family but her brother’s family, she is no longer working as a judge. It is hard for her to just stay home and not be able to help her country. She feels like her education is going to waste. Being a judge can wear on you mentally and emotionally as you hear stories of ladies or children who have been abused, but she still wanted to return. I was inspired by her stand to do what was right. Many around her were taking bribes, but she refused to do so and it put her family at risk. She hopes to go back soon but this time into the family court system.
It is families like this that Afghanistan needs. They are educated and willing to work for Afghanistan and not just for themselves. ISK closing was tough for them. Their daughter will still graduate, but they are not sure what to do for their son’s education for the next year. Currently, he is doing his school online through a school in Dubai, but it is hard for him to stay motivated. If the internet goes out, he often has to start his work over. They hope for peace. I asked the father what he thought about the future of Afghanistan. His answer was that only that the summer will tell meaning if spring and summer are peaceful, we might be heading in the right direction. The father asked me why we came to Afghanistan. I responded that God and our faith in God had led us to this country which led to a discussion about faith in God and how important that is.
We enjoyed our time with this family and hope to spend more time with them in the future. Our family came away blessed and hope that we were an encouragement to them. On a side note, I think they would have kept Winter with them if we would have let them. They think of her as their daughter also. Sorry there are no pictures or names. I wanted to share our experience but keep their names and faces private. Blessings, TJ