Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Pretty persistent young lady. She contacted me last summer when I was in Guangzhou. I didn't recall meeting her, but I guess I must have given her my business card in church at some point, because she sent me an email letting me know that she had asked a friend of hers about possible openings for English teachers at his university. I didn't actually tell her I was looking for an English teaching job, because I wasn't. I have been focused on the mission to Afghanistan that I have been thinking about putting together.

So I didn't answer her email. She was not deterred. She gave me a call one morning while I was praying about God's purpose. Later she sent me a text message saying that a teacher at this university had passed away and it was very important for me to send her my resume.

I got an email from her a few days later saying that the campus would be closed until the end of August. So I put it out of my mind. Last week, I got a call from her friend telling me that he had arranged an interview for me. I have been hoping to go to Afghanistan this fall, so I have not been applying for positions here, but I decided that perhaps it wouldn't be right to blow off an interview staring me right in the face, especially since I have been out of work since January of 2010.

I got on pretty well with the folks at the University, and decided perhaps a teaching job for a year or so would give me some breathing space while I am trying to set up the NGO I have in mind. I am running into a couple snags re: Afghanistan. The first, and most obvious, is that the whole country, except for Kabul, is so very unstable. I try to be philosophical about it. I certainly don't have a death wish or anything, but I guess I figure that if something happened to me, I have already lived longer than James Fraser, who designed the alphabet for the Lisu tribesmen in Yunnan, or Samuel Pollard, who designed the alphabet for the Miao (which is still being used today).

But if I were to take some Chinese young people to Afghanistan and one of them got hurt, I would feel really bad. I know that there are no guarantees in life, but I really do need to try to develop a plan that ensures a reasonable measure of security.

The other issue is that I don't know a soul in Afghanistan. That doesn't really stop me, because you have to get acquainted somehow. I didn't know a soul when I came to Beijing, either. The difference is that when I came to Beijing, I had a job. Got of the plane and was taken to my apartment. I have never spent a night in a hotel in Beijing. That would not be the case if I went to Afghanistan without knowing anyone. The countryside of Afghanistan may be inexpensive, but you really can't travel alone as a westerner in the countryside of Afghanistan these days. You can do it in China. China is a relatively stable society. But Afghanistan is not. Even in Kabul, you can't just stay anywhere. You need to be conscious of security, and that costs money.

So, it seems that I have to hold off on going there for a few months or years. Waiting. So much of life is about waiting.

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