“Love letters from Kabul – on family”

A fairer life for all

Dear friends and fellow human beings,

7th December, 2012 ( Gregorian calendar )

17th Qaos, 1391 ( Afghan calendar )

From Abdulhai

Sometimes, I feel that it’s better that I don’t quite remember my father’s face, and that my family doesn’t have any photos of him.

Abdulhai visits his father’s grave

But sometimes, I wish I can remember what his farming hands felt like.

None of my family members talk much about the loss of my father. I want to help my dear mom feel better, but how can anyone feel ‘better’ about something like this?

Afghans have a way of describing how much we have missed a friend. We tell the friend, “Your place was empty at the meal.” So, in the corners of my mud house, in the center of our fields, and in the spaces of our home, there’s an emptiness.

My family is wonderful, but we keep snapping at one another. My time with the Afghan Peace Volunteers’ community is teaching me to address strains in relationships however awkward it may be, like recently when I spoke with one of my brothers with whom I had difficulties.

From Samia

If we treated everyone like my mother treats all of her children, we would have peace in the world.

We would still have arguments, but we would make peace afterwards.

My sister told me that once when I was very young, a flood had swept through my home in Laghman province. My father had been frantically shouting and looking for me. Later, he had found me in the family latrine!

I miss my village home, living together, and hiding together. My parents and siblings would all hide under the blankets when the fighting came to my village.

Watch Samia expressing love for her mother

If not for my family, who would be with me every day? Where would I sleep?

From Hakim

Unlike Afghan families, my family is small; just my parents and my older brother.

It’s small but, like every family on earth, it is irreplaceable.

My kind, stoic 72 year old mother’s two sons are away, my brother in Hong Kong and I in Afghanistan. On my last visit to Singapore, I had laid an unreasonable request on my mother’s heart: I asked that her life not revolve around her two sons anymore, on whom she has poured her everything. I asked her to pursue other dreams too, and to live a full life.

With my wonderfully loving parents

She thinks about my safety. I think about her happiness. We’re both really wishing the best for each other.

So, more than when I was in comfortable Singapore, and partly because my Afghan friends have taught me to express my affections, I’m learning to say to my family, “I love you!”

I want to tell them that I’m pursuing the love of a wider family, the human family, the family that crosses all borders.

Love,

Abdulhai, Samia and Hakim

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