I arrived in Kabul this morning. Two days ago I was in New York staying with a friend from high school. He is a highly skilled craftsman who makes, among other things, gorgeous wooden frames. He recently found a rare New York apartment that let him set up a small woodworking studio downstairs and he’s saving up for a bandsaw.
Today I visited another place that makes frames; Golestan Sabak. This school, run by a wonderful widow named Fatima Akbari, teaches women and children. The students learn not just literacy but also vocations like embroidery and carpentry. In particular we visited the workshop where disabled people learn woodcarving, calligraphy and frame-making. 3 weeks ago a big snow dump caused her tent to collapse, destroying their electric saw.
Another recent New York conversation echoes in my head. My friend and I were eating lunch at Columbia where some students were protesting the settlements in Gaza. I asked my friend how he felt about the protest and he said essentially ‘Think Globally Act Locally’ that there are plenty of problems to deal with in New York. But one of the problems is misinformation. People just don’t know about the settlements or about women’s carpentry workshops in Afghanistan. Well maybe a couple people do now.