It’s a Friday full of sweetness and sadness for me. I leave in a couple of days and I am spending this lazy Friday visiting friends to say goodbye … until we meet again.
Everything about the city seems magical today. The mountains are glowing white, circled by grey clouds.
The streets are calm and people are out and about.
I visited a lovely part of the city today.
Nouria who is the housekeeper invited me to her home and I also had lunch at the home of my colleague – and training assistant – Sepas.
Their neighborhood is green, tranquil and full of old homes made in the traditional style with natural mud called gila.
Sepas has worked with me for the last two years and I finally got to meet his lovely and gracious family. He loves theater and is passionate about Theater of the Oppressed.
Yesterday, the last day of the training, he said that this theater is a theater that people can trust and he thought it could be the strongest form of theater in Afghanistan. I cried.
The groups from Herat, Khost and Baghlan were amazing during the final performance and I was so proud of their audience facilitation. They were able to get people talking, sharing ideas and even had a few audience interventions on stage.
During our evaluation I asked each member to say one new thing they learned – a concept, game, technique. One actor said previous to this training, he saw the oppressed as the loser; killed, beaten, or otherwise defeated. Now he sees that the oppressed are always trying; the struggle always continues.
I am sad to leave Kabul but proud that the main concepts of artistic liberation have take root with groups in 6 different provinces. The groups are strong, creative and dedicated to making society more human despite the inhuman conditions all around them. I hope that we can continue to teach each other and learn together.
Next big plan: bringing groups from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan together to share community arts practices and discuss how local culture and arts initiatives can be used to address issues that are common in all three countries.
Any ideas for support, let me know!
Oh, one more thing … this morning I had a great surprise. I was visited by my former students from Jalalabad who came up to Kabul with a parting gift for me. Haydari – who is a tailor as well as an actor – made me a traditional Afghan outfit and I cried.