Some time ago I found myself in Kabul going out for a leisurely outdoor lunch and a bit of shopping. On our way back we saw something that put a smile on our face, a kite. Kids will always play, no matter the circumstances. When we got closer to where we were staying, however, we noticed that it suspiciously looked like the kite was actually being flown from there. Now, surely we must have gotten this wrong. There were certainly no kids staying with us.
Let’s rephrase that, we had no one staying under the age of 12. But still, the closer we got, the more it looked like the kite was actually flown from our garden. Turns out, during the afternoon, some of the guys we are working with had been making kites from some discarded wood and plastic. Attach a long enough piece of string and you’re away.
One was up in the sky already, the second one soon followed. Which is when we found out that a kite fight was just about to start. Each of the kites had a piece of glass or something else sharp attached to the string. Purpose is to cut the other kites loose and be the only one left flying. It drew most of us into the garden where we ended up with a random selection of people from completely different backgrounds and countries cheering on the kite fighters. It was close, but eventually one succeeded and the other made a nose dive. It almost gave us a sense of normality. Hopefully another child somewhere would find it, attach a new piece of string and perhaps, amongst all the upheaval and the worry about where food next comes from, be able to be a child. Even if only for a short while.
Dr Natalie Schoon, CFA
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