I’m sick. And it’s not fun. I think it’s the flu plus food poisoning or just one of the two. I started to feel sick on Wednesday night but went to work anyway. I left work early on Thursday and went straight to my cousin’s house. My Khala (Aunt), my cousin’s mom, is in town and I knew that she would make sure I was taken care of.
I went straight to the room designated to as ‘my’ room and threw myself on the bed. I spent the rest of the day sleeping and being fussed over. My Khala checked my temperature and my pulse, gave me medicine, put cold compresses on my forehead, prepared soup and generally just made me feel better. I love my Khala.
Friday, we went ahead with the khatem for my friend’s daughter. A khatem is prayer round and is usually done as thanks to Allah or pleas for help. Generally, a khatem is a reading of the Quran Sharif by a group of people. Other types of khatems may be repeating a verse or a prayer from the Quran Sharif a number of times.
We did the latter. It took a long time, as two of the participants (myself and Y) were sick, and our khatem had a repetition of over 100,000 times. I had to stop an hour into it as I thought I was going to throw up, but I started back up again in about half an hour. It was a good thing that I did, because my other cousin A, was outside and we couldn’t hear the doorbell over the loud hum of the generator. He called me, I opened the door and we both joined the khatem.
We kept track of the numbers with raw kidney beans. It is the way our grandmothers did their khatems, which is a nice thought. My cousin counted 1,000 beans and put it in the middle of the table. Each person would recite a verse and then put it to the side. Once we all finished 1,000, my cousin or my Khala would take a bean (from a completely separate pile) and put it in another bowl, to keep track of our 1,000s.
It was a happy khatem and made us feel that helpful to our friend and his family – which is what we needed also.
We finished and my Khala dedicated it to my friend’s daughter and rain for my beautiful but dry Afghanistan. As we all prayed, together but praying separately, I felt my little group’s deep prayers that our friend’s daughter is restored to health. I hope it works.
I was also going to write about the clinic that I went to on Saturday, and how they only let me in because my driver yelled out, “She’s a Kharijee (foreigner), Let her in,” but I’m pretty exhausted. I guess there is a free health clinic for locals, and because of demand, they can only let in 100 people a day but foreigners, who pay, can go in anytime.
And I haven’t seen any of the fabled Koreans yet but my friends who have recently gone to the airport have seen them, and I guess lots of children and teenagers? Really, why? Why would you put your children in danger? It’s been so hyped in the Western media and the security emails that I get everyday, that I’m afraid that I’m going to see one of the Korean evangelists and scream, “Aahh, Koreans!” and sprint out of the room. Dude, cuz they’re targets and I don’t want to be sitting next to them when fanatics come by.
But I do want to know why they’re here in Afghanistan. The summer is not the safest time to be here, and why here? We’re Muslim and happy with our religion. If you want to help, come help but don’t come for this. This isn’t helping.
I have no problems with Christians, having spent most of my life in the Bible Belt of the U.S. and have plenty of friends who are staunch, conservative, Christians…but I don’t appreciate evangelists. When I worked on an American Indian Reservation for a summer, I remember a Church group coming to the Rez and telling the kids that they would go to hell if they weren’t saved. And then the Church group wouldn’t or couldn’t break up a fight between two 8-year old boys. Is that supposed to help them?
We need practical help. Rebuild some sewage tanks, fix up our water supply or plant some trees…but this? An evangelical rally, do they think this is going to get people to convert? We’re trying to rebuild this country here and frankly, we just can’t handle it. Security is iffy for Afghans, how are we supposed to guarantee it for evangelists?
Oy, this has become a rant, I’ll stop now.
I’ve also been thinking about how Koreans, who are trying to convert the Afghans, converted once they were in contact with Anglo/European Christian missionaries, but I can’t articulate it properly. And I’m not quite sure how Koreans became Christians so maybe I’ll shut up now.