I teach at Aztec Middle College--West in Tucson, Arizona. When I meet people and they ask what I teach, I generally say, "I teach students . . . " and try to leave it at that. We learn a lot of things from each other.
Currently we're learning about the Middle East and Media Construction, about how we come to understand (and too often misunderstand) the world around us. This summer I found a short documentary online about this remarkable group of people in Kabul called Skateistan, who were teaching young people there about skateboarding, among other things. I don't know that I ever thought much about the view from a skateboard until I saw these kids rolling past the rubble and broken streets there, and they were smiling.
My students have been corresponding with kids at Skateistan since September. Our initial posts, in retrospect, show the kind of tentative awkwardness that comes with not knowing much about your correspondent. We have made mistakes--cultural faux pas that have offered us all opportunites to learn beyond first impression and superficial understanding, and we have made connections--genuine connections that show us stumbling around with Dari phrases, that show our backyards and the things we discover there, that show skateboards and music and art, and many, many questions and concerns.
We intend to continue the conversation and keep learning more about our new friends in Kabul. They have difficult lives, far more difficult than we can really imagine. Sometimes when we watch them on their skateboards we might not think about the world outside the park, the reality of war. But then, we are called to remember. We remember when we hear about the bombing outside Kabul, not very far away; we remember when we watch Nawed speak of his prayers for peace.
We want to help. We'd like to share our conversation with you and ask for your help. Please take a look at our weblog, Tucson to Kabul, and make a contribution to Skateistan. Anything you can afford will be appreciated.
Tashakur ! Thank you!