Marnie’s August Blog Entry

PARSA August 2016

Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on a World Bank meeting and contribute to the international dialogue that will take place in Brussels about the future of Afghanistan. As I listened to the well-researched prognosis for the next couple of years presented by an economic expert, I was struck by just how wide the gap is between our efforts to address stabilizing a country from a macro level of development and from the “frontline” reality that organizations like PARSA face when dealing at the level of people experiencing the results of a tragically drawn out war. On the macro level, the problems are overwhelming and even hopeless. On the frontline of service, the problems take on a name and a face, and our innate compassion for others overrules any sense of despair or futility.

Two weeks ago I was contacted by a woman in Norway who, as a mental health professional, was working with an Afghan illegal immigrant who was being deported by to Kabul after five years in Norway. He had been born in Iran, and has never stepped foot in Afghanistan, and has no identification from any country that might assist him with integrating here. This very kind Norwegian reached out to us at PARSA to see if we could somehow assist. She went way beyond her professional obligation to reach out and into his life to try to help so that he might have a decent future, and we at PARSA reached back and took him in, stretching beyond our capacity or mandate to respond humanely. Today, Mohammed is out on a trip volunteering with the Scouts, paying us back for our compassion by working as hard as he can to contribute to PARSA, as it is his new home. I am convinced that this network of small efforts to change each life as it comes into our world will at some point overwhelm the cynicism and resignation of the “larger picture”. Thank you PARSA Family Members for being part of our work in changing lives.

Marnie Gustavson
Executive Director PARSA