Give-away

This morning I did the big give away at my guesthouse. I had put all the give away stuff, in multiples of five – as there are three guards, a housekeeper and a cook – on a big table cloth on the floor of the living room; the big items on one side and the small stuff on the other. The range was from a mostly (but not always) good working DVD player, my muted telephone (the first item to go), an electric shaver, a radio, large emergency flashlights on one end to sinus sprays, acid pills, wooden spoons and fly swats (the last item to go) on the other end.

I had planned the event to be with all five staff, having each pull a number out of a hat which would indicate the order of selection but Fazil wasn’t there as he is getting engaged. That sort of undid the design with everyone having a fair chance at some good stuff. I asked the other staff to pick for Fazil which they did with some difficulty.

I saw Fazil later in the day when he showed up for night duty. He told me he was very happy with his co-workers’ selections. There was much joking, in Dari, too fast for me to understand, each time Fazil’s turn came around, which added a touch of merriment to the event. At the end everyone had a large plastic bag with stuff. A Cape Ann Savings Bank commuter coffee mug and an EMS water bottle are now in an Afghan home somewhere. On my side the house is a little emptier and a little less cluttered.

Back at work I found the energy levels of my Afghan colleagues close to rock bottom. Two more workdays (next Sunday and Monday) and then Ramazan is over. Then people will celebrate, feast and spend money. In fact the money spending has already started and our office paid out salaries a bit earlier than usual to accommodate this custom of new clothes, feeding the relatives and gifts. It is like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas all wrapped in one.

After work I went to SOLA – there are less girls now as some have started to leave for the provinces to join their families for Eid. Sattar proudly showed me his passport with his US visa – Wali standing off on the side, smiling and being happy for him, but surely being unhappy inside. He hasn’t re-applied yet as each application costs 240 dollars and he wasn’t sure where that was going to come from. I hope there is a budget line for this in ted’s meager budget but if not we can fund raise again, it’s not a big challenge.

We told Sattar to be very careful with his passport and keep it in a very safe place rather than carrying it around in his backpack. I so hope the two can be together at the school they both received scholarships for. We had liked to see them travel together but that is not going to happen as school starts very soon and Sattar has no excuse to show up late for class.

We received good news from Delhi where F and S are camping out for the UK visa. It seems F’s story has a happy ending, something that was arranged in two weeks flat and with an enormous amount of work done by several people here and in the UK who can do magic tricks. Two more girls are waiting for their school forms, one from Marblehead High School and the other from Miss Hall’s. The form is a requirement before they can even make an appointment for an interview. The next available slot on the US consulate’s appointment website is in October. We are holding our breath.

1 Response to “Give-away”


  1. 1 axel August 26, 2011 at 3:17 am

    I wish I could have been there, but even more I wish I could say goodbye…


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