A day of rest and fellowship.
In an effort to boost micro-enterprise in Barek Aub, Flatirons and its partners have invested in training, equipment, and materials to teach women in Barek Aub how to knit and sew.  FCC then purchases the hats, gloves, and purses they make and sell them in the lobby at FCC at Christmas time with all the proceeds going back into support out at Barek Aub.  For this year our team is bringing back more than 1,300 purses so this morning we spent some time inventorying them, preparing paperwork, and packing them in duffel bags for the long trip home.  If you’re interested in buying some of these gorgeous hand-made purses I’d plan on being at FCC the weekend of December 7-8… they typically go fast!
Friday is the Muslim Holy Day (similar to our Sunday) so our teams typically take this day to rest, regroup, and allow our hosts and their staff a day off to be with their family.  After we finished inventorying and packing the purses we decided to treat it like Sunday back home and gathered in the living room to listen online to Jim Burgen’s “Important Versus More Important” message from last weekend.  If I ignore the fact that I’ll never be able to watch football ever again ;)  I can honestly say it was one of the most poignant messages I’ve ever heard.  More than one of us agreed there was plenty of application in our own lives.  (If you missed it, you can download it here.)
As soon as Jim wrapped up his message, some dear friends of a US staff member who were visiting Kabul from a neighboring country blessed us with a visit.  For security reasons I can’t go into more detail, but I can say it was a special treat to meet and talk about ongoing development work in Afghanistan with such incredibly dedicated, brave, and courageous people.
After lunch we headed to the Darul Aman Palace to give our first-time team members a chance to visit a striking remnant of the Afghan Civil War between rival mujahideen factions following the retreat of the Soviet Army in 1989.  Translation… the groups of warriors that drove out the Soviets turned on each other fighting for control of Kabul… and pretty much destroyed the city in the process.  We were fortunate to be able to not only visit the Palace, but were allowed inside to see the remains of the devastation up close.  Even our hosts – who have visited the Palace at least 100 times over the years – still become emotional whenever they visit.
After leaving the Palace we headed back to the guest house for a brief rest before heading over to a wonderful evening at the home of an ex-pat staff member currently living in Kabul.  The same visitors who had joined us at lunch once again greeted us and we heard even more compelling and inspirational first-hand accounts of dedication and bravery in the face of incredible persecution.
What a wonderful day.  We’re ready to head back to the school tomorrow to finish up painting a couple offices and add a few more animal caricatures to the jungle… I mean lunchroom. ;)
As I sign off I ask that you please continue to pray for the Jirga and for peace in Afghanistan.  The team sends our love to everyone back home… we’re definitely NOT looking forward to leaving Kabul in a couple days, but we are looking forward to reuniting with our families soon!
-- Bob
Yep... manly men... sorting purses...    
Exploring the devastation from the Civil War.
Two more reasons we keep coming back.