August 10, 2010

E’s Update: Hajji Help


I’m doing well, just beat two rounds of watery illness. Feels good to be able to confidently walk away from the restroom. There’s a special society here called ICIMPIA that I am happy not to have joined (I Crapped In My Pants In …).

In more serious news, you may have heard of the recent killings of some foreign and NGO workers. Please think of some of my friends both here and in the States, as they had known a number of the murder victims for years. Two of the workers had spent a combined total of more than 80 years in the area. One of them was a 25-year-old videographer, the son of an American woman who has worked here for years helping women in a similar capacity as our NGO.

My Dari is improving every day. I notice it especially when I’m out buying stuff in the streets and run into friends with whom I am suddenly able to converse, to some limited extent.

One scary thing this past week: One of my teammates, who teaches maternal health at the local (battered) women’s center here, was recently denounced by higher-ups at the mosque as being essentially a kafir spreader-of-religion, that the classes at the women’s center are actually illegal in nature. Of course this isn’t true, and is just motivated by this area’s ultraconservative resistance to any form of women’s education. But the threat is there, and there is some possibility of action being taken against our NGO because of this. As a result, our NGO had a meeting with a local Hajji (someone who is respected for having made the Hajj to Makkah) to petition him to speak on our behalf on the mosque. He seemed to understand that as long as these lies were kept in circulation, someone may die in his neighborhood, and he wants to do his part. We hope he will follow through and help us out.

Hope you’re all doing well,

PS: The picture above is of one of the kids down the street who sells bread. He is a very fun kid who helps me with language-learning every day. I’m picking up on humor from him as well.

[Photo by evanistan @ Flickr]

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