Calling

We brought the Afghan baby crib into the living room, plus the embroidered baby caps, hoping that this would speed things up. Sometimes superstition is fun.

It has been raining all day which we humans may not like but our newly seeded grass and baby vegetables love. We are ready to serve a full plate of micro greens to anyone who comes by – we have plenty. We will complement them with macro asparagus, also aplenty.

This morning Sabera came to our office to tell my colleagues about the work of Afghan midwives and the challenges they are up against. Most of those are pretty obvious: security concerns in many parts of the country, turnover, restrictive norms for girls and women to travel and work outside the home and attitudes of mostly male, mostly older doctors about their expertise. The male doctor versus young(er) female midwife/nurse dynamic appears to be universal.

Still, in spite of all of that, Sabera and a few hundred very committed women have tapped into something strong and powerful. Where at first they had to beg the fathers and husbands to let their daughters and wives train to become a midwife, now there are long lines of girls that the few midwifery schools cannot handle.  Other countries in the region are looking and asking Afghan midwives to come and teach theirs how they did it. I am learning a thing or two about change and transformation against all odds –  a case study on social change, led by very courageous young women.

Two other Afghan women, one Afghan American, joined the conversation.  I was happy to link them to Sabera. Critical mass is important and any new connection helps as you never know where it may lead.

Afterwards the official part of the program was over I took the three ladies to a Japanese restaurant where we sat around the cooking plate and were treated to knife/spatula juggling and new ways to break and fry an egg. It was very entertaining. Sabera indulged in sushi – I only know two Afghans who are adventurous eater, Sabera and my colleague Saeed.

The afternoon program included a visit to Harvard’s School of Public Health where I handed her over to Gary from western Mass. who is taking her under his wing for the rest of the afternoon. Tomorrow she will go to do some more networking further west. I told her we may be following her if we get that phone call from Sita, now more likely with the crib in place.

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