I woke up around 11AM today. I was pretty worn down from the day before. I got up and washed up. I went into my uncles room and talked with him for a while. He asked me if I was coming back from somewhere, and I said no I had just woke up, he laughed.
I went to the TV room and saw my Russian friend Dasha. She is a journalist from Russia whom I met here a couple days ago. We talked for a while, and she tried to guess my age. First she guessed 35, I laughed. Then she guessed 33, I laughed again. I couldn’t take it so I smiled and said 23. She had this look of shock on her face. For a moment she just stared and then she asked if I had proof. So I pulled out my passport and showed her the date. After that she called me the little kid. I told her about my non-violent nature and this seemed to surprise her again. We finally ran out of things to talk about so we popped in a dvd movie.
I watched Memento for a while, and just as I was getting into it, Ishmail came to get me. We were going to Jamel’s house for some Ashak. So I sat with him and my uncle for a while and then we left. Abu Bakr was waiting for me in the taxi. I jumped in and we went to Microyan which is where Jamel lives. I took off my shoes before we went in and we walked into his betak. We sat down for a while and talked about the Taliban times and all the tragic stories. They brought out the pitcher for us to wash our hands. I had just eaten breakfast at 11Am so I wasn’t that hungry. I ate as much as I could. I grabbed Abu Bakr, the Satellite phone and we made our way to the roof of the apartment complex. I called India and spoke to Mahmud, I wanted him to find out when the next flight to Delhi was. I needed to start thinking about going back. My work here, the initial survey was almost complete. I had two meeting left and then I was out of here. We spoke for a while and then made our way out of the house.
We drove up to “Bage Ballah” or gardens at the top. It was a huge “Mellah” or picnic/party. It’s very close to the intercontinental hotel. Along the mountainside, there are all sorts of trees and fruit trees. They are in perfect order and it must have been a sight to see in it’s prime 25 years ago. We drove up to the top and I took some pictures. We walked around for while, and every once in a while you’d see a girl without her chadar on. The woman were out in droves. It funny this one part of the park there was a huge crowd of men and boys playing music and dancing. All around them in the hills among the trees and vineyard were woman in their blue chadaries. I didn’t take any pictures because, it seems like whenever you pull out a camera people in droves come after you. Walking back to the car, I saw a small branch from a flower tree on the ground. I picked it up and took it with me.
As soon as we got back to Akbar jons house I went to Sikandar Jon’s house. We sat around for a while and then Abu Bakr came by. We sat and talked Afghanistan politics for a while, then talked about Islam. I kept trying to say that muslims were to blame for our problems and nobody else. If we become good muslims then we won’t have any problems. We were sitting down and then a guy living downstairs in Sikandar Jon’s house came in. He sat for a while and I asked everybody to join us for dinner at my uncles house. I didn’t know that we were all invited to dinner by the guy who lived downstairs. We accepted his invitation and he left the room. His son came back with the famous pitcher and bowl of water to wash our hands. Next they brought “Palow” or brown rice. There was meetballs and potatoes in another dish. Abu bakr and I shared a bowl and dug in. In afghan standards it was really good food. While eating he talked about his family in the north and some of the problems his family had faced. I had heard about the kindness of Afghans towards guests, but I finally saw it that night. He hadn’t ever seen us before, but he treated us like kings that night. He wouldn’t even let us pour our own tea. He was not a rich man, and this kings meal must have put him back a couple of weeks, but it didn’t matter. He was treating his guests, that’s all that mattered.
After eating we went back to Akbar Jon kaka’s house. The door was locked so I knocked on the door with the large metal knocker. It was dark outside, but the light upstairs was on. I went back to the window and looked up and waited. Little Lida came up to the window and asked who it was. I said “Mara Nashnakhtee” or you don’t recongnize me. She smiled and asked me where I had been. I told her to open the door and her little brother came down. We walked in and I walked up to the men’s room. We sat around for a while and then I went to the bedroom with a TV. I walked in and saw little Lida standing there. She had a black chadar on and had her face covered. Her big green eyes were shining. I asked her how she was. She couldn’t uncover her face. She was so innocent. I could tell she was pleased to see me. She went to the other room for a while and abu bakr said thank god you came because she’s been driving me crazy asking where you’ve been. I remembered something. I asked Lida to follow me downstairs. She came downstairs and I told her that I had a gift for her. I grabbed the flowers that I had picked up from the picnic. I pulled it out and gave it to her. She still had her face covered. I told her that this was her and her sister Sheilas gift.
I went back to Sikandar Jon’s house and we sat up until 2 AM and talked. Sikandar Jon had been through a lot and it was interesting listening to him talk about his life and all the trials and tribulations he had been through. I learned the life of a refugee from him. I went to sleep late into the night.