It has been a few days since one of my students at the Institute is having a hard time reading and writing and his school results have gone down. We asked a few questions and we discovered that he broke his spectacles and his family does not have money to buy new ones (about 30$ between frames and lenses).
Another one is always tired; his eyes are red, and he struggles to focus. I called him to my office and asked him what was going on. He said that there is no problem, and everything is normal. For him normal means living in a tiny room behind the woodworking workshop of his cousin. After school he works there to earn a bit of money and then in the evening he goes for tuition. His family is in Kuduz, probably the most dangerous part of the country right now. I asked him to come and stay at the students’ dorm, but he declined the offer: I think he fears that if he moves out of his cousin workshop he’ll lose the opportunity to earn a little.
There is a boy who is emotionally unstable, his parents tell him he’s good for nothing and he only finds peace of mind when he draws. He told us: “People say I am crazy.” At the Institute, he’s just a boy like anyone else: he’s found his little world and a bit of tranquillity.
Another student is distracted and absent-minded, we catch him often staring at the void. His brother – to whom he resembles immensely – has been killed in a bomb-blast last year, it has recently been the first anniversary. How can we help him restore an emotional balance?
I have been back in Kabul only for three days and these are the stories that welcomed me. Yet again, a unique opportunity to put my priorities in order and remember not to take anything for granted.