Checking off

Today held another round of goodbyes, a family in Khair Khana and Razia jan. The parting isn’t so difficult because we know we wll see each other again, sooner or later.

At the Khairhana home I found a family that had escaped toxic (as in nuclear toxic) Japan to come to somewhat less toxic and in their mind much less dangerous Afghanistan. The family had moved over a decade ago to Japan and the kids all go to Japanese schools although full integration into japanese society as a foreigner is but impossible I have been told.

Mom runs an Afghan restaurant on the outskirts of Tokyo. It is closed now of course. But dad is still there. The kids now go to Afghans schools, anxiously waiting to return to their Japanese friends.

I had brought balsa wood planes and a box full of balloons which produced endless and cheap entertainment for the younger kids, especially when they discovered you could blow the balloons up really big and then step on them. The explosions were a source of great merriment. You’d think that this would not be the case in Afghanistan but it was.

Over the last few (Eid) days I have seen many boys, dressed in their Easter finest, with plastic AK-47s or revolvers. I suppose it is not surprising that such toys are in high demand given the ubiquitous presence of the real things – still, the nature of the Eid holiday seems not quite in line with the giving of toys that mimic instruments of death.

I finished number two of my projects today. The knitted mouse has been assembled and came out fairly well, although not by long stretch resembling the picture in the knitting book. I filled the body, head, arms and legs with Afghan kapok, final leftovers from the many pillows I have made. The cotton, fluffy now, will of course flatten over the years. Since that is all I had available to me (rather than the Pakta kharidji, the foreign artificial kapok) I am not taking the long view on this project but rather one of immediate gratification. Taking the mouse apart and re-stuffing it may not be possible.

With this last task for the sewing machine, I cleaned the soot that clung to its plastic case, and packed it up; it sparkles again like the new machine I bought in Holland over a year ago. It has served me well and will now serve Nancy’s sewing ladies, who will also be receiving various knitting and sewing odds and ends that I don’t need to take back.

I have a gallery of plastic bags and boxes lining the living room window – each will go to a new owner who, I think, can make good use of the contents. It is amazing, when you do an inventory of your stuff, how little you actually need. A move now and then is not a bad thing.

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September 2011
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