Monday, September 28, 2009

Unconditional Love

That is how Afghan hospitality was described to me today. Hospitality being their version of unconditional love.

The custom is to welcome even strangers for tea. And if their enemy happens to be that stranger - so be it.

If their enemy is threatened by an outsider while having tea. As a matter of pride they will fight to the death for that enemy.

Graciousness and beauty has always existed alongside violence here.

Like the kites that the children fly all over the city. They dance across the sky - literally dozens at a time. And while the kites soar - all of the kite strings are equipped to cut down any kite string that gets in its path.

I went with 2 of the women from Turquoise Mountain today to shop on Chicken Street (the main merchant center) and then to buy kites in another area of town.

The kite seller had a small store front on a dust covered street in downtown Kabul. Some of the tiny stand was filled with kites - but most of it was filled with different types of string. The shopkeeper showed me the strength of the string and then showed me how it could easily cut another string down. This was its most important selling feature - not how high the kite could fly.


  1. Love your blog, Stephen. Fond memories of my visit to Turquoise Mountain Foundation, the Fort, Murah Khane, the wonderful work of all those people dedicated to rebirth out of the ashes ...or dirt as the case may be. Like an Outward Bound course, it is a roller coaster while you are there and unforgettable after. So glad you are blogging. TAke care of the precious MAnaging Director and the lady who accompanied you. I miss all of you. Best, Stocky

  2. I find myself clicking the link on my blackberry throughout the day to see if anything's new...always a treat to find something. Gives me a renewed appreciation for how instantaneous communication can be...and how easily distorted as well. Your post reminds me of reading The Kite Runner; your earlier one of being in Cairo and getting invited to share a hookah with the man I bought the T shirt from you couldn't get over your head. What a hoot. His birthday was the same as mine; he had three sons and spoke of his relationship with his wife. Pinch me, huh?

  3. This is where I've enjoyed each morning's first cup the last few days. Love seeing this world through your eyes.

    "It doesn't get any greener," I once heard in an old Toyota Celica. And there you are.

  4. love reading all this. how long will you be there? see you when you're back

  5. So the last post had you waxing rhapsodicly about unconditional love for strangers invited to tea even if threatened by enemies before the second pouring. Call me crazy but would love to see a post that began "back home at the fort...". Nashville is tame by comparison; off to Starbucks to see if we won on allowing hand guns in bars and State parks.