Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Feb 13th
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

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

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

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster