The following log is being presented in a series of weekly installments. To read this document in its entirety, please visit philchurch.substack.com
DAY 8 (FRIDAY, APRIL 8) – Phil is becoming expendable. HM arrived at our home a week earlier with clothes freshly washed and cleaned at a laundromat close to his hotel. He now needs to wash his clothes again. Connie shows him how to use our washing machine, how much soap to put in and what settings to use. HM now knows something about how to run our house that Phil doesn’t know. Phil is beginning to feel a bit expendable.
DAY 9 (SATURDAY, APRIL 9) – A helping hand from church members. Phil and Connie send out a request to our church fellowship group for a chest of drawers that HM might use in his bedroom. Within less than an hour after our request “hit the streets” we have a call with the offer of a 3-drawer chest. It’s now installed in his bedroom. He can take it with him – along with our daughter’s unwanted student desk – when he finds his own place to live.
DAY 10 (SUNDAY, APRIL 10) – Another Afghan friend, HA, comes to visit. We learn that HA arrived in the first wave of evacuees with his parents and a brother and was housed at Fort Bliss. It has taken HA nearly six months since his arrival to get all his immigration paperwork processed and only recently has been able to find a job as a data analyst with an area company. He brings, of course, food from his family’s Iftar dinner the night before. More delicacies again to please our pallets at dinner.
DAY 11 (MONDAY, APRIL 11) – We celebrate today. HM has a job offer. Not much of one, because it’s a short free-lance contract arranged through an Internet-based company – www.upwork.com – that matches computer techies with small-company clients that don’t need or can’t afford full time IT staff. In HM’s case the work would be constructing a website for the owner of a new restaurant. UpWork has an international talent base and matches employers and workers in a range of business and engineering areas around the world. It just may be of interest to other arriving refugees.
DAY 12 (TUESDAY, APRIL 12) – HM takes over our kitchen. It’s another day of AARP volunteer tax advising for Connie so she will be home late in the afternoon. (Only a few days remain till the tax filing deadline.) Phil normally “cooks” these evenings, that is he goes to get Chinese or Thai take out. When he suggests this option to HM, however, he gets pushback. There is still plenty of Iftar meal ingredients provided by his Afghan friends on hand so he suggests that instead. Phil has no counteroffer so HM takes over the kitchen and has a full meal ready when Connie walks in the door. She is delighted. Phil can’t complain. We three break (HM’s) Ramadan fast together. Phil even has trouble carrying out his normal kitchen duty – rinsing plates and putting them in the dishwasher. HM insists he must also do that. (Has HM’s mother back in Kabul encouraged him to be so helpful?) Whatever, Phil is really beginning to like HM. Connie already.
DAY 13 (WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13) – Another family relative emerges. After Iftar dinner together Phil shows HM an Opinion Page article from the day’s Washington Post about the need for the western countries to press the Afghan Taliban government on its promises to keep secondary schools open for girls. The article is written by Roya Rahmani, the former Afghan ambassador to the US (2018-2021) who is now also a refugee in the US and currently is a visiting fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security. HM declares Rahmani is a relative on his mother’s side. He knows her personally. Another layer of HM’s family-and-friends background emerges.
DAY 14 (THURSDAY, APRIL 14) – More variety in our daily meals. Today Phil and Connie schedule our Iftar meal to follow our Maundy Thursday evening church service. HM chows down as soon as we return home with food that still another friend, HK, has brought to share with him – rice, of course, along with chicken biryani and Qabuli palau, a tomato-based vegetable dish.
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.