My Afghan Mother
I went on a patrol the other day to a village elder’s house. A bit of background: when I first arrived here in Afghanistan, this particular village elder’s wife could not believe that there was a female commander and she made a request to meet me. I took the time to go meet her at her house, which involved meeting her daughters. It was a neat experience and one that differs significantly from the norm here since males are not allowed to look at women here unless they are family. We do not speak the same language, and my language assistant is male so in order to translate he has to sit around the corner where he cannot see the women and listen to the conversation while attempting to translate as fast as possible. All of the women try to speak at the same time in excitement, so you can imagine the fun that this presents. The village elder’s wife does not remember her name – a foreign concept to me being from North America where names are so important – and the name she is known as is mourri, which means mother. When I was leaving her compound, she held my hand until we reached my close protection who had been waiting by the door, and she helped me put my pac back on prior to walking out. Much like a mother would do. She gave me a blessing before I left that was so special – wishing me the best and wishing me peace wherever I go. Once in a while there are things that happen that truly transcend cultural, religious, or language differences. For a homesick gal, it felt kinda nice to have someone treat me like a mother would. I think those are some of the moments that make it worth it.