#15 Life in Afghnistan :: Eid-al-QorbanPosted: October 15, 2013
I wasn’t going to post today. I’m not doing too great health-wise, and really wasn’t feeling up to it. But I pushed through, and came up with a little something. Sorry it’s not very elegant or nicely written. Sorry for the lack of photos.
Better news – tomorrow I have another AMAZING guest post!
The sewers are open in Afghanistan. Ditches dug in the center of small roads, or the sides of bigger ones. Little gutters flow from yard under the gate and feed into the main “dewy” or sewer. A lack of flowing water mixed with hot summers means the contents often just sit there to rot. Once in a while you will see men with shovels shoveling out the slime and grime and goodness knows what else to try and clear space for more.
I walked out of my gate that afternoon and looked down to step over the sewer. You don’t want to be falling in there (I have and it was nasty). It was red, bright red, blood red. Literally blood red. I continued to look as I walked down the street, and continued to see, guts, intestines, blood. It was like something out of a horror movie. Streets flowing with blood and guts.
I knew the reason for it. Eid al Qurban. Festival of sacrifice. Each year Muslim’s have a festival to remember when Arbraham sacrificed his son. They sacrifice animals as a remembrance, often sheep or goats; sometimes cows, sometimes other animals. Each family is required to make a sacrifice. Many make more than one. Every part of the animal is then cooked and served to guests. Everyone visits each other, just long enough to sit and eat a bowl of stew containing meat and other parts.
Strange emotions rise up in me. Since as young as I can remember I have been a part of these festivals, standing and watching as animals get slaughtered, visiting friends and eating the stew and meat, seeing these people try to have their sins paid for by killing the animal. I can’t remember a year without being a witness of this festival, and yet still the emotions rise up strong. A mix of them. A feeling of home, a tradition I am familiar with and there is always some comfort in familiarity. Feeling grossed out by all the blood and guts – admittedly when I was younger I loved it, it fascinated me – but now my stomach is less strong. Feeling sad, again, that they don’t know the One Sacrifice. Feeling humbled by their commitment to be cleansed, and feeling awed by their big remembrance of the act of one man thousands of years ago. Feeling blessed by the hospitality and friendship shown by many to many. It’s a mix of emotions, and whilst there are many positive emotions, I still wish they knew there was no need for this, I pray that this year will be the last for many, and I still hope that it may be.
My Muslim friends, you are so dear to me, so special to me. I am incredible honored and grateful for the way you let me enter your lives. I respect your beliefs, and I understanding the meaning and significance that this day holds for you. And so today, on this Eid-al-Qurban I say “Eid’e Mubarark!” and I pray long-life for you.