Sorting and (re)gifting

Saturday morning is traditionally the time for doing my language school homework, after the French toast and coffee. One assignment consisted of reading a moralizing story about a girl wanting to hold a star and then telling it in my own words to the teacher. But I haven’t gotten to the moral yet and am left guessing. I am about halfway through its eight pages and have so far met a thundering old watermill, a talking white horse and a fish, also talking, but she hasn’t found her star yet.

Dari has many words that basically mean the same thing. I am starting to guess. There are a thousand ways to describe someone who is starting to talk to someone else, and each time I have to search the dictionary again. Looking up a word in Dari script takes a little longer than looking up a French or Spanish word and so it takes me a long time to read a page. Suffice to say I did not complete this assignment.

My Pashto assignment was to make sentences with the new words I learned. Since I basically know only two verbs, present tense – to have and to be – the sentences are of the ‘see Jane’ variety and even that was a bit difficult. I have two more lessons to go and would like to at least be able to read and pronounce words correctly. I am only scratching the Pashto surface.

I am sorting things in my house into two piles: to give away and to send back. The latter pile will have to be sub-divided at one point, before September 5 into two piles: to pack in three suitcases and take with me or to put in the shipment. The latter means I won’t see it until some four months from now which is the middle of the winter. I am starting to give people who are traveling to the US bulky things so carry, leaving me more room for the remaining bulky winter stuff.

I dropped off some (re)gifts at the house of a colleague whose daughter turned five. The gifts included a tiny tea set that was immediately put to use, some Yankee Christmas candles with a snowman on top, and, most importantly, the giant jar of Marmite that Axel gave me on my birthday in December 2009 – I barely made a dent in it but she will. I packed up other things for a friend who I joined for lunch – DVDs, the rather useless Lonely Planet guide to Afghanistan, playing cards, vitamins and stress pills. I think I can manage without the latter for the next few weeks.

F. came over to collect more donations for his tennis court, dollars and a tennis racket, and hand me a thank you letter – showing that my lecture on treating your donors well had taken hold. He has raised over 500 dollars since I last saw him which means that he will have completed his project by the time he leaves.

He is kept in suspense about his departure, 11 days from now, because he doesn’t have his visa yet. He has the coveted red card with which he is supposed to retrieve his visa-stamped passport from the consular office but they won’t tell him when. We are all keeping our fingers crossed.

I received a reply from the Mayor of Kabul responding to a message I placed on his facebook page. It is nice to see he is paying attention to small things and people like me – his internet presence is not a gimmick, reinforcing my already positive view of him. Small things like this matter, and big things, like the Darulaman Road project is heading towards completion, with a bit of luck just about when I leave.

1 Response to “Sorting and (re)gifting”


  1. 1 axel August 14, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    “Darulaman Road project is heading towards completion, with a bit of luck just about when I leave.” So sorry to miss that!


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