What is a Chawkidor?

Literally, a chawkidor is someone who sits at the gate.  For us, a chawkidor is a person who makes it easier for us to live and function well here in Afghanistan.   He answers the gate, goes to the bazaar for us, walks Teresa to the office or a friends’ house, and takes care of the yard.  Some people translate chawkidor as a guard but that seems so formal, and ours do not have a weapon.  We have three chawkidors.

Our first chawkidor is Mirwais who is our day guy.  Mirwais has worked for us since we came to Afghanistan and is like family.  We were able to go to his wedding our first spring here.  Now he has two sweet little girls.  One day he brought us mantu for lunch and brought his oldest to work with him.  It was fun to see him as a father as he played ball with her and entertained her.  Here is a picture of them together.

april 1Mirwais provides not only for his wife and two daughters but also his parents.  We are proud of the way he cares for his family and his love for them.

How does Mirwais help our family? His main job is being a go between between us and  whoever is at the gate.  Part of that includes screening callers at the gate and supervising maintenance workers that need to come in our house.   Mirwais also does most of my grocery shopping and gets really great prices.  In this society, the male does most of the shopping.  Since Noel is at work all day, this is a big help to our family especially when I was working full time.  Sometimes when I am having trouble understanding someone on the phone, I will have Mirwais talk to them.  Even though he only speaks Dari, he can usually explain the situation to me in words I understand.  On top of that, he takes care of the yard work and keeping the car area clean.  Lastly, Mirwais is a great escort if I want to walk to a friends’ house or the office instead of calling for a ride.

Our night chawkidor is Ashkullah.   He is newer to us.  He loves gardening and is very shy.  As a sign of respect, he won’t  look straight at me.  At first it was slightly disconcerting but I am now getting use to it.   Our third chawkidor is our relief guy whose name is Qasim.  He had worked at our house for a previous family and now works for our maintenance division during the day.    He enjoys working for a family one day and one night.  Both of these guys speak English which can come in handy when the dari words won’t come.

I know I have written about our chawkidors before.  I am doing so again because we interact with them everyday and are a big part of our life.  Our prayer is that we will be good and fair to them but most of all we will show the love of Jesus in all our interactions.  We pray that we will have opportunities to share with them.  Pray with us for them and their families.

Blessings, T


Leave a Reply