It’s the month of Ramadan, a significant time of year for Muslims. Many are fasting during the day and we are hoping this translates into a lull in activity during the celebration.
Today was rather uneventful, allowing me time to think about how to best to communicate with Afghan people besides radio and interpersonal communication. (Many Afghans can’t read, but many also do not own radios or televisions.) The answer, of course, is to communicate with their local village elders. But this is not always as simple as it sounds. For as many successes as we make, we have hiccups to go along with them.
Think about trying to teach someone to learn a skill. Now think about trying to mentor someone so they learn how to teach someone ELSE to learn how to perform that skill. Now think about actually finding a way to find a place where that person can actually perform that skill, in an area with no economy or infrastructure. Now think of trying to do all of these things with insurgents trying to deter people from using that skill (with death threats.)
Sometimes when I start worrying about how good (or bad) of a job I’m doing, I have to sit back and remind myself that it can’t happen overnight. Progress is being made in the ‘stan. We may not see the end result anytime soon, but we have to acknowledge that sometimes, it comes by us taking baby steps.