farshid -a year and a few months on

remember farshid? i wrote about him more than a year ago -in the middle of last year’s winter. i really don’t feel like hawking this story right now because i went back to it right now and could not keep reading it myself. but here is the link anyhow.

well, yesterday i saw farshid again. and in the year and a half since i saw him last in the cold winter night in early 2008, he does not seem to have grown an inch. he seemed thinner though.

i was coming home earlier than usual and had to pick some drycleaning on the way. that’s why i took this other route which is usually jammed with traffic at that hour on account of all the government staff going home. while sitting there in the traffic, this little kid came up and started rubbing the dusty piece of cloth in his hands on the windshield. the driver gave him a look but he kept going. he then started cleaning -if one could call it that- the window on my side. i was sitting in the backseat. and went around. when he was cleaning my window, something about his face rang a bell. i took out a ten afghani note, rolled down my window, and called him to come back to my side. as i gave the note to him i asked his name. he looked at me with -i swear it was there in his eyes- a familiar look and said farshid. and before i could say anything else the traffic eased up and we started moving. i had seen farshid again, a hundred yards or so away from where i had seen him almost a year and half ago, in a state no better than the last. but what was i expecting? for him to be wearing a blue uniform and be trotting on his way back from school? i have no idea what a kid his age must have gone through in the year and half since i saw him last, living as he does on the streets of kabul with unkind drivers and shopkeepers and passers-by looking at him as if he was a parasite, a pest. i have no idea how soon before he becomes so hardened with his hard life that he forgets how being happy feels like. i have no idea how soon he becomes so cynical about life and people in it that he starts building a grudge against them in his little heart -maybe it is there already. i have a 12 year old brother that everytime he goes out to the naanwayi next door to buy some bread for dinner, i feel so protective i go along with him often in my work clothes and socks and a sandle -i do not want him to cross the street alone. farshid literally lives out on the streets. what the odds must be for him to get ran over by a careless driver? how much dust is he breathing in on a daily basis?

i came back and told my wife how i was shaken up with seeing farshid again and how incredible it was to see him after so long. and she told me to not let myself become like one of those reporters or photojournalists who fall so much in love with the aesthetics of poverty and misery that they forget the human face behind it. all that matters is a good shot, and a good blog post.
(am i doing this already? what, otherwise, is the point of this post? to inform -maybe. so what? and no, i do not see it in myself to set up some charity and invite donations to the cause of afghan street children. the problem is bigger and more systematic than can be addressed at that level.)

i could not sleep properly last night because, and i did not tell you this yet, when i saw farshid yesterday, he had a big gash on his forehead with four stitches (my driver had counted them, and told me it was roughly sewn up with some piece of string.)

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~ by safrang on May 25, 2009.

3 Responses to “farshid -a year and a few months on”

  1. thank you for this post.

  2. I have heard that there is some kind of fund that people contribute to in Kabul for situations like this one with Farshid. I’ve read on other blogs that you can send an email to the fund describing the situation and get a response soon. Someone recently used to to pay for a homeless kid’s broken leg to be re-set, and someone else used it to help out a schoolgirl who cares for her paralyzed single mother. I don’t know much else about it other than that it exists and that it’s used for small deeds.

  3. […] in the eyes of those who will suffer the worst in the winter for want of warm clothing and warm food and warm […]

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