Life in the Field - The Way of the Samurai

"Show me the way to the next whiskey bar. Oh don't ask why. Oh don't ask why."

Monday, December 12, 2005

Some pre-Xmas wish

Quite unfairly, I failed so far to mention a few people that I find make my life in Afghanistan a tad more special. In each and every office and guest house we have, there is indeed at least one staff, a guard, a cook, a gardener or a cleaner, whose kindness makes every minute of the day nicer. In my case, I fondly think of Bangui, who used to work in our Charikar office, to a couple of our guards in the Kabul guest house, the cook in the office and the old gardener, as well as the entire crew in the Mazar guest house.

Sadly enough, quite often those who are the sweetest, most often smiling and all, are also the lowest on the social scale. As a result, they will be the ones other staff dump annoying tasks on. As a friend mentioned, I suspect there is some link between the latter fact and their kindness. I also believe that the gratefulness showed by some expats in front of such pleasant personalities is a kind of gratification of itself, which makes some tasks less of a burden. Nonetheless, there is something quite free in the way their generosity of mind is provided to all willing to accept it that is remarkable.

Somehow, there seems to be something unfair in how humbling the blows of life has made some of these people and in the way they are treated by their peers, as a kind of cheap labour. It's probably more typical of a society where the notion of hierarchy is much more central to social contacts, and where clanic, social and professional ties decide of where you are on the social scale and consequently of how you can behave towards other beings. I would venture that, while continental European cultures also know a certain hierarchy, it is by no means as obvious, possibly inter alia because to start with, the educational and knowledge gap is by no means as large as here.

Anyway, whatever one can do to make up for nature's (society's ?) unfairness, it is only of very symbolic value against a lifetime of injustices due to one's lower social position. So my pre-Xmas wish is that all the people I've met here who have been looking after us with so much gentleness, if they cannot find in this existence the moral reward they deserve, be, in their next life, reincarnated as wise among the wise, respected by all. Now that would seem fair.


At 6:07 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Aw. I often feel that way. Although you guys have more such sweeties than we have here. :-( Nicer people in general. Anyway, that's a darling post. Tell Bangi and all the rest I said hi.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger exMI said...

Merry Christmas!


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