After the latest barrage of bad news and cynical commentary on Afghanistan I was conflicted about returning – scared that this time I’ll really encounter all the awful things the news tells me I’ll encounter. I was nervous and doubting myself. Hopelessness was pushing in. But I have insisted on life; choosing to believe in the particular truth that comes from observing and interacting with real human beings. People with histories and futures not portrayed in the mass media.
So here I am, in the middle of it all. The snowy mountains watch over me, the sun bright in the sky. Soaking in the goodness of Kabul I come back to life, back to reality.
What waits for me? Girls walking to school, men and women waiting on a corner for taxis, vendors calling out their wares, a herd of sheep.
It’s spring and the trees are budding with fresh life. Yes, that’s what I’m met with in this city of dusty dreams; pulsing life. Text messages come in from colleagues to tell me they miss me. I fall in love all over again.
Yesterday was Jumm’e the day of rest and Zabi, the cook and houseman, took me on a walk of the neighborhood. Not much was happening today, the streets are quiet.
We pass through a small street with a stall selling straw, another selling chopped wood for the bukhari (a little metal stove used to heat the house in winter), a stall with a machine which looks like it bats down cotton, a prolific bread shop, and some auto repair shops.
One street was filled with tailors’ shops, kind of like a mini garment district.
No bunkers here. No hiding from life. No retreating nor surrender. Only life, transformation, movement.
Cynicism and hopelessness is dealt a mortal blow by people’s will to create their own futures. Ooooh yes, I’m back, and the reality of being here resurrects my faith in positive transformation. I suppose it’s right on time for Easter and Passover. Coming out from the dark, transcending oppression, reveling in life.
On Sunday my advanced workshop starts. I am excited for the actors to take the lead and explore how these techniques help people to articulate their hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow.
From the theater’s stage to life’s stage – they can’t stop and won’t stop … so neither will I!
So while you are eating that matzoh or painting that egg, remember life is growing here. There is freshness and green and much goodness to come.
More soon … K
P.S. – tell a friend about this work. We need people to have images of life in Afghanistan, rather than death.