Thank you again those folk who have persisted in reminding us they love us, care for us or are thinking of us (or all three). Special note to those people who I didnt know, up until they wrote in to say hi, and let us know of their care. (did that sentence make sense?).
We appreciate it, we are taking things seriously, we are feeling the pinch. While we don’t feel it would be an embarrassment or a failure to come back to Perth, it would, at some deep level feel like we were abandoning this place, and calling it all darkness.
Of course, Afghanistan’s future does not lie on only our shoulders, and in our leaving, we would not be missed for long. But still, I do feel, that even if we can do very little here that is practically useful, simply by living here and resisting the urge to flee, we are communicating hope, belief. The idea that this place need not always be hostage to war, crime and violence.
I know the calculus of leaving vs.staying is not as simple as that – we have our kids to think of; we are here to work, not just to ‘be’; we need to enjoy the confidence of our Board, etc. So we are doing the sums. But we have not reached the bottom line yet.
Part of the difficulty is the indirectness of the threats and incidents: Yes, another person was kidnapped. It was, however, over in a part of town that is known to be subject to a lot of criminal activity. Does it raise the threat? For sure. We are not walking anywhere now (and that is really dull, and really frustrating). The local cafe thingy set up by some enterprising foreigners as a meeting place and the only place where you could get good coffee, is now on the ‘no go’ list. We have to take the kids to school via a secure route. And so on. How long we can live like this is not clear, many of us are already feeling the strain. But neither is anyone leaving. We are hoping it will get better, expecting it to get worse, and planning for it to degrade steadily. Most of us have set thresholds, both on a time frame, and in terms of incidents, that would trigger departure.
But we love this place, and the thought of leaving is hard to consider. As my friend Nathan writes, ‘It is too heavy to carry and impossible to put down’.