Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Mar 05th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

On the Road

orphanAPTOS > Afghan orphans stop in Aptos on a nation-wide road trip

Six Afghan orphans, aged 11 to 17, spent a night in Aptos on Thursday, Feb. 23. Their visit was one of many stops on a road trip across the United States sponsored by their orphanage in Kabul. They left for San Francisco today, Friday, Feb. 24, to see the Golden Gate Bridge.

The six kids and their two adult teachers, Nasrin Sultani, an Afghan national, and American Ian Pounds, have been on the road in a 32-foot RV since Jan. 7, starting out in Boston and taking the southern route through New Orleans, Texas and Arizona.  

The local link is Roger Aikin and his wife Wendy, the sponsors of two children in Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO) orphanages who were not on the road trip. The couple invited the group to spend the night in Aptos. At an informal and hastily arranged presentation in the Aptos Christian Fellowship, the six Afghan children and their teachers told stories about life in Afghanistan, recited poetry, sang songs, and answered questions.  

The four girls and two boys seemed like any young teenagers on a road trip—excited and wearing new t-shirts from the places they had recently visited—until they told stories of their homeland. Their English was surprisingly good, their smiles infectious, but their stories were, at times, heart wrenching.  

As part of the leadership curriculum at the orphanage, the students were prepared for cultural exchange presentations and answering questions from Americans about Afghanistan. Maria Fahim, 17, told the story of her family—seeing her grandfather killed in a rocket attack when she was very young and later seeing her family harassed and killed by the Taliban. Fahim said one of the most striking impressions of America was the apparent equality between men and women, and how American women “can dress as they like and walk together with men as equals.”    

The road trip is sponsored by the AFCECO, an Afghan charity based in Kabul that has developed 11 orphanages throughout Afghanistan that serve as home and school for more than 700 children who have lost their parents. The 10 week tour of the United States is in part a reward for their highest performing students—who are given a good deal of responsibility for intercultural exchange at stops along the way, like the visit in Aptos—and in part to raise awareness and funds for the orphanage.

“The media only talks about war, war, war….they never talk about the solutions,” says Sultani. “It’s true the conditions are catastrophic… but we have to work toward solutions. We believe the future of Afghanistan is with the children, so we start with the children. We are training the next generation of Afghan leaders.”  


More information about AFCECO and opportunities to sponsor Afghan orphans is available at afceco.org.

       

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Crop Circles

How the confusion over GMOs is undermining the organic movement

 

Week of Festivals: Full Moon, Lantern Festival, Purim, Holi

It is a week of many different festivals along with a full moon, all occurring simultaneously. Thursday Chinese New Year celebrations end with the Lantern Festival (at full moon). Thursday is also the Pisces Solar festival (full moon), Purim (Jewish Festival) and Holi (Hindu New Year Festival). Sunday, March 8, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. The festival of Purim celebrates the freedom of the Hebrew people from the cruel Haman (a magistrate) seeking to destroy them. Esther, the Queen of Persia, who was secretly Jewish, saved her people from death. The sweet cookie hamentaschen celebrates this festival. Friday, March 6, is Holi, the Hindu Spring Festival celebrated after the March full moon. Bonfires are lit the night before, warding off evil. Holi, the Festival of Colors, is the most colorful festival in the world. It is also the Festival of Love—of Radha for Krishna (the blue-colored God). It is a spring festival with singing, dancing, carnivals, food and bhang, a drink made of cannabis leaves. Holi signifies good over evil, ridding oneself of past errors, ending conflicts through rapprochement (returning to each other). It is a day of forgiveness, including debts. Holi also marks the beginning of New Year. At the Pisces Solar festival we recite the seed thought, “We leave the Father’s home and, turning back, we save.” Great Teachers remain on Earth until all of humanity is enlightened. The New Group of World Servers is called to this task and sacrifice. Sacrifice (from the heart) is the first Law of the Soul, the heart of which is Love. This sacrifice saves the world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of March 6

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Water Street Grill

YOLO gets reincarnated

 

What would make Santa Cruz better?

A lot more outdoor activities such as outdoor movies and concerts, food and art festivals, and more multicultural activites. Emmanuel Cole, Santa Cruz, Bicycle Industry Product Developer

 

Thomas Fogarty Winery

When looking for a bottle of something to have with dinner, Gewürztraminer 2012 is not the first wine to come to mind. Given the popularity of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir—to name but a few—Gewürztraminer sits low on the totem pole.

 

So Long, Louie’s

Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar closes, plus Back Porch pop-up, and 2015 Outstanding in the Field tour