Anyone who has lived abroad knows that although it can get lonely at times, new friendships are made, relationships established, and soon we start to develop a “family” in our chosen home. Personally, for a long time I have known that I have a wonderful community here with colleagues and friends who are amazing people and I am sure will stay in my life permanently, regardless of where our individual paths take us. Since I started to work for PARSA, I have always felt that our entire staff are a big part of my family in Afghanistan. However it wasn’t until my birthday yesterday that I realized how special they are all to me, and how much they appreciate me in return.
After a meeting in town I had made plans for a birthday lunch at a nearby restaurant. While I was eating a few colleagues called to wish me happy birthday and ask where I was. This seemed a bit strange at first because no one generally notices if I miss lunch, but it turned out they had planned a special surprise birthday meal – and were waiting for me to celebrate. Completely unexpected! I was late getting back, but when I did there was not only a special lunch, but also a big beautiful cake that Mina had brought, flowers, and even a few beautifully-wrapped presents.
Everyone – the Scouts, our finance and tailoring teams, even the operations and farm staff – came to my office for cake and a mini celebration. It was such a wonderful, unexpected day, and it made me realize that the people in that room are my true family in Afghanistan. It is such a blessing to be a part of an organization where the staff care so much about each other and really look out for one another’s well being and happiness. It was the best birthday present in the world to be reminded so strongly that I have such a beautiful, caring family at PARSA. Thank you all!