Sunday, September 23, 2012

How lessons from a Nevada farm apply in Afghanistan

The more I travel, the more I realize how blessed I am to have the parents I do and the more I see the lessons they taught me apply in every day life. Here in Afghanistan, those lessons have kept me from offending people time and time again, especially since I'm living with a host family and am navigating the daily challenges of my new life with them. Three days ago, my host brother and sister and I moved to a new house, and I saw, yet again, Mom and Dad's lessons come into play:

*Don't judge a book by its cover.

The "new" house is rather different than what I'd imagined. I tell myself constantly not to view things through a Western lens, but that's not always easy!

*Always carry a flashlight and a pocket knife.

The cabinets were so dirty and so rusty that it took my trusty knife to clean them and my headlamp to keep me from slicing my hand off! But two hours later, they were squeaky clean. Well, kind of.

*Squatting behind a bush is not that big of a deal.

Or not behind a bush, as the case may be. Both the new house and the old house don't have flush toilets, which is taking some getting used to.

*Make new friends.

*Girls can do manual labor too.

My host sister was dismayed to see me moving a heavy mattress by myself. Apparently, girls here don't do much of that.

*A little hard work never hurt anyone.

I took a picture of all of us collapsed on the couches at the end of the night (after spending ten hours in the office and then another five-ish hours cleaning, unpacking, making dinner, and then cleaning up from dinner), but it came out too fuzzy. Suffice it to say, we were exhausted! But, it was a job well done, and the "new" house is looking much better. There are still windows without glass, no running water in the kitchen, and patches of the house without carpet, but hey, we can't be picky. A house becomes a home when you choose, and I'm lucky to have two great host siblings who have already made me feel at home. When you have such good company, the rest of it doesn't much matter.

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