To Afghanistan

Abracadabra GH, Delhi

After all the thinking and weighing and wondering and absorbing global concern about it, it’s time: we are going to Afghanistan today. The taxi to Indira Gandhi International Airport arrives in about half an hour, so this’ll be a quick note.

Sadly, we had bad news from Kabul yesterday: a young (26 year old) colleague of our friends at Turquoise Mountain Foundation, Anna, with whom I had corresponded while getting the details settled regarding this whole trip, died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday from a fall off the horse she was riding. Total shock, and everyone there is freaking, accordingly. Utter tragedy, and only points more poignantly to the ultimate fragility of life that makes itself known whether planning a trip to Afghanistan or trying to survive a few weeks in Delhi, or in New York for that matter. Very difficult moment. And surely an awkward one for our arrival. But what to do?

Surprising absolutely nobody who knows her, this is what one of my friend Jenny’s TMF colleagues wrote about her to us in an e-mail yesterday about the difficulties of this moment:

Jenny has been absolutely marvellous looking after all of us, baking cookies and buying flowers for Anna. She is the heartbeat of this organisation, as you will discover.

For all of you who know her, the image of Jenny Hartley being the heartbeat of a home or community, baking cookies as an act of sublime spiritual love and worldly comfort is anthemic. God I am so happy to be seeing her, and to be visiting her at this incredible place in her life and at the intersections of her life, work and passions.

I am feeling incredibly positive about this trip. My first to a war zone, I guess, yet suffused with deep calm and a feeling of peacefulness and presence. I feel utterly unafraid. While being conscious of the obvious dangers and the need for sensitive comportment and discretion given the local environment I’ll be living and operating within, I feel totally at peace and simply unflustered by or afraid of the potential for “terrorist” doom or downside. I am looking forward to expanding my world, and experiencing the Afghan people on their own terms, in their own realm, and learning and opening to another side of life’s amazing adventure of social and cultural unfolding.

Somehow, I have this feeling my life will never be the same again, after this trip.

Love you all, and I’ll be in touch.


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