Naqibulla is the night guard at the guest house where I am staying. We hit it off initially because he was impressed that I speak some Farsi (my Persian is okay, I can have simple conversations which is fine for the night porter but not great for interviewing a member of parliament, I leave that to our tour guide and translator extraordinaire, Najib). He likes my Iranian accent because during the Taliban he moved to Iran with his family.
He is also stunned by my ‘seeah post‘ or black skin. He says he likes black people. They are good people. There are none in his country but there is a region in Iran called Bandar Abbas that has a lot of Africans. He played me a bandari music video on his phone and showed me his black friend on Facebook (who looked South Asian to me).
He says we are like brother and sister now. He gives me extra blankets and extra wood for my woodstove at night. When I woke up in the morning and my voice was hoarse he asked if I was sick and if my room was warm enough. It was just that he was the first person I’d spoken to, but it was sweet that he was concerned.
He is about my age, 22, but he says since I am a year older that in Afghan culture he should wait on me and bring me chai. He is married and only had 4 years of school because of the problems in his country. In the states when you are a student it means you are poor, here it means you are rich enough to that your family can afford to not have you working. I have gone from the 99% to the 1%, and it feels very strange to have a cook, a driver, a maid and a porter for a week.
Today he asked if i could take a picture with him before I leave. I’m sure he’ll want to show everyone his black friend.
It’s all pretty politically incorrect and frankly makes me a bit uncomfortable, but this whole trip is about stepping outside of my comfort zone a bit, and Naqib is genuine and sweet.
Gotta brush my hair and put on a hijab before the cook comes in to tell me breakfast is served. Laterz.