2017 Life Logs, Day 313: The Power of One
Date: Thursday, November 9, 2017
Weather: Partly Sunny and a Tad Warmer; High 57, Low 38 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

The Falmouth Newcomers general meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month. There is a social time with coffee and pastries followed by a presentation. And today’s presentation told one of the most compelling stories I have ever heard. A young Cape Cod resident named Beth Murphy made a presentation today along with Razia Jan. Beth is a documentary director, producer, and author. She founded her own film production company, Principle Pictures, and is the director of GroundTruth Films. She not only directs and produces films, she wins awards for them. And today we got to see snipits of her latest film, “What Tomorrow Brings.” It is the story of how one woman, Razia Jan, established the first all girls’ school in one small Afghan village. Razia came to the United States in 1970 from Afghanistan. She lived in Duxbury and made a living running a small tailoring business. She became an integral part of her community and served as President of the Rotary Club. Then 9/11 happened, and as she told us today, it changed her world. She was the only Muslim in Duxbury and there were officials that came to talk to her. But the people of Duxbury, who knew and loved her, stood by her. She repaid them for their allegiance to her by rallying the community to send over 400 of her handmade quilts to Ground Zero rescue workers. She sent care packages to US military personnel in Afghanistan. The list goes on, but the most important thing that happened was when she returned to her native country for a visit. She saw first-hand how things had changed since she grew up there in the 1950’s and 60’s and she determined right then and there that she had to do something for the young women of Afghanistan. Against all odds, but with the financial support from her Duxbury Rotary Club, in 2007 she found a village that would allow the building of an all-girls’ school and the work began. The school opened in 2008 as a K-5 school. Today there are 625 students in grades K-12. These students receive a quality education for free and many of the young graduates are going on to college. There is so much more to this story and I encourage you to read about it online. Razia, through her Ray of Hope Foundation, works full-time raising money for the school and traveling to Afghanistan to oversee its progress personally. And Beth Murphy, through her film documentaries, has made this story visible and tangible for all to see in the most compelling way. Here’s one review of the film that I found online. “I worked in Afghanistan for just six months in 2007, and I’ve watched so many documentaries and films, and read so many books, about the country and the situation there, and most fall short in showing how complex it is, especially for women and girls – at least in my opinion. This documentary nails it – it presents the people and their thoughts, without comment from the filmmakers. It’s a mix of heartlessness and hope – which is exactly what living in Afghanistan is like. You can ask “why” all you want – but you need to know that is how it is, for whatever reason, and see for yourself how brave Afghan women circumvent the culture to help the women of their country.” If you are interested in learning more or supporting a student for $425 per year, look up the Zabuli Education Center online. Or contact me and I will make sure that Beth Murphy gets your contact information. I’m sure she will be glad to connect you with Razia’s. I titled this log The Power of One, but in reality, it takes the vision and dedication of one and the support of the entire “village”.

Tonight I have the Goldpebbles with me for an overnight. There is no school tomorrow as it is the day of off for Veterans Day. Observances here will happen on Saturday, not tomorrow, as Saturday is the 11th day of the 11th month. Heather and Jed have to work tomorrow, so I will hang out with the boys in the morning. Then in the afternoon Sam and Jonah have a 2-hour soccer clinic. Not sure what Ollie and I will do, but we always find something of interest. Tonight we had what we call dinner theater. In other words, we watched a movie while eating our dinner. They talked me into letting them watch The Emoji Movie. Wouldn’t be on my Top 10 list, but they loved it. And then we read longer than we should have, but Ollie is really into Ancient Egypt as that is what they are learning about in kindergarten. I could not believe how much he knows. Even Jonah was a little wide-eyed. He had the same unit of study in kindergarten, but he didn’t remember learning the specific names for so many things. Ollie explained to us that he learned it from the Smart Board (projection board from a computer). He told Jonah that that Smart Board is always right. Jonah was having none of that, but it was a cute interaction highlighting how technology is interfacing with the education of young children these days.

I got an email from Jo’s mother late today saying Jo had sent her a What’s App message letting her know that running water is back in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Happy, happy. She said Justin was actually in the shower as she was writing. They are almost afraid to use the water even for bathing as there are so many stories circulating of disease caused by using the running water when it returns due to the water sitting in the pipes for so long and contamination of the water sources. For now, they will continue to get drinking water from the spring or from rain water. But hopefully soon they will be able to trust the water again. Well, I should be clear that they never trusted the water even before Maria. They have always put the tap water through their Berkey filter. What I should have said is that hopefully soon they will once again be able to trust it as much as they ever did. But things are improving.

I’ll end by sending a great big hug to friend Jane Woodin. She had a cardiac catheter ablation today to correct heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias). I got a text from her at 7:30 pm saying that it was a long day, but that all went well. Then I got another text from her just before 9:30. That’s when we switched roles. Jane is a nurse, but I took the nurse roll and told her she needed to be sleeping! From our brief text contacts, I’d say she is back to her feisty self. Sure hope so.

2017 Life Logs, Day 314: Inching Forward, Sliding Backwards
2017 Life Logs, Day 312: Voyage of Windbird Presentation