Hope, Faith and Diana

This morning I arrived early at Lisa’s place where I got the royal treatment: hair, feet, reflexology, Swedish massage and a mask, ‘because you’re special,” said Lisa. Sammy the hairdresser decided I should have a Princes Di haircut, “because I look like her,” as if she is still around. I did see a picture of Princess Di recently which was photoshopped to show her at age 50 – elegant with a few wrinkles and dyed hair, with a haircut that doesn’t look anything like the one I got today. It was more a Twiggy haircut, a reference no one at the salon would understand.

With face and feet soft as a baby, and very little hair left on my head, I went to the shop where foreigners buy locally produced and highly marked up handicrafts that make us feel good because they make for unusual gifts while we support destitute women. I had received an announcement that they would have a “Blue Herat Glass and Ice cream event.” The blue glass was there but not the ice cream which was cancelled for reasons unknown. I bought a decanter and two water glasses to replace the plastic water bottle on my nightstand – very stylish and very ethnic.

In the afternoon I went over to SOLA to say goodbye to Angela who is leaving for Virginia on Sunday to start her four years of college at the University of Richmond. Her departure is a big loss to SOLA but also a victory as this is yet one more Afghan girl who will come back to join her sisters who are trying to change this place. Connie from the European Police trainers, another volunteer teacher like me, showed up with a lesson plan about the Berlin Wall, German bread and Dutch cheese, complementing my cake with its ‘safar bakhair’ (safe travels) written across the frosting.

Connie always has to come with an armored car and guards, this time one male and one female. The female one was from Sweden and the male one, who patiently waited in the car outside until we called him in, was from the UK. I have met a few of these guardian angels now and all have said that their visit to SOLA is one of their best experiences in Afghanistan. They live between barbed wire and blast walls surrounded by armaments, and corruption, and have an impossible task.

Although not living in the same conditions, I too have found my time at SOLA among my most fun and rewarding experiences here in Kabul. Each time I leave the girls I feel that some good is going to come out of all the good that is streaming into Afghanistan, usually undetected and under the radar compared to the bad stuff, arms, too much money, misguided strategies and arrogance that streams in highly visible and in abundance.

The two remaining boys at SOLA, which will return back to its original state as a girls’ school, are shipping out next month to Kent School in Connecticut – one has his red card in hand (this means he will get the visa) while the other is waiting for some form from the school without which the interview at the consulate cannot be scheduled. We are all keeping our fingers crossed for all the kids who are now waiting for the much coveted visa and start their new lives.

As usual, while the kids introduced themselves, Ted provided editorial comments and context that consist mostly of stories that make you want to cry and that restore one’s faith in the goodness of people, an effective antidote to the constant barrage of bad news. He has a large trunk full of such stories and I can’t hear them enough, even though I have heard many of them more than once already. Apparently during his latest stay in the US he added another layer of stories, of random people stepping in his way and bringing things he needed but did not ask for.

1 Response to “Hope, Faith and Diana”


  1. 1 axel July 29, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Photo of new Diana-do, please!


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