Crutching along

My first day in the office was emotionally and physically exhausting. It was wonderful to see my colleagues and office staff after nearly two and a half year. We rattled off our greetings in Dari, which soon came back to me. I shook hands with the men and I embraced the women, my sisters who had hung in there. Unfortunately some who I had hoped to see had left.

I hobbled on my crutches from one side of the large compound to the other; never have I walked such distances since my operation. Sometimes I had to navigate around or through patches of ice, and multiple times up and down stairs. By the time I came home I collapsed on the bed, realizing only then how tired I was. Of course there was also the adjustment to the new time zone and the fact I hadn’t slept that well, waking up in the middle of the night.

Sunday is the first day of the week and the offices have been without heat for 2 days, so the place is stone and bone-chilling cold. The little kerosene heaters have a hard time to offset that kind of cold which seeps through all the single pane windows and even through the walls. I hadn’t dressed quite for that and by the time the day was over my feet were like ice cubes.

My reunion with my mentee M was long awaited and wonderful. She showed me proudly her new driver’s license. During times of ice and snow she drives a car to work with her driver sitting in the back with her boys. As long as there is a man in the car (her driver or husband) the other (male) drivers in traffic leave her alone but the moment she is alone they try to bump into her, lower their windows to yell obscenities at her, and cut her off. It is infuriating that grown up men can be so childish. But she’s used to it and shrugs it off; I suppose it is the only way to survive here.

My Dari is coming back quicker than i had expected. I had my security briefing in Dari with only an occasional translation. I carry a small dictionary to refresh my memory. My 2 years of lessons pay off as I can conjugate verbs and know sentence construction.

In the evening we went to see my friend Razia Jan (from Razia’s Ray of Hope and Deh Sabz’ school for girls), with, to my great surprise, another dear friend who was lodging there until she gets her fiancee visa for the US to join her future husband.

As usual Razia jan had cooked a spectacular and abundant meal (royal rice and plenty of side dishes) and entertained us with great stories about her attempts to provide opportunities for people who had everything going against them (except for Razia’s helping hands) only to find the attempts to help rebuffed or her generosity abused.

Razia jan is preparing for a fundraising fashion show, like one we attended years ago. We had a preview of the dresses and coats that will be displayed, hundreds of them. Judy took advantage of the selection and got herself a nice patu wintercoat.

I was exhausted enough that I slept through the night and woke up to a day of leisure as it is the prophet Mohammed’s birthday today.

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January 2014
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