Includes a Reading Group Guide and Author Q&A
From her first humanitarian visit to Afghanistan in 1994, Suraya Sadeed has been personally delivering relief and hope to Afghan orphans and refugees, to women and girls in inhuman situations deemed too dangerous for other aid workers or for journalists. Her memoir of these missions, Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse, is as unconventional as the woman who has lived it. This is no humanitarian missive; it is an adventure story with heart.
To help the Afghan people, Suraya has flown in a helicopter piloted by a man who was stoned beyond reason. She has traveled through mountain passes on horseback alongside mules, teenage militiamen, and Afghan leaders. She has stared defiantly into the eyes of members of the Taliban and of the Mujahideen who were determined to slow or stop her. She has hidden and carried $100,000 in aid, strapped to her stomach, into ruined villages. She has built clinics. She has created secret schools for Afghan girls. She has dedicated the second half of her life to the education and welfare of Afghan women and children, founding the organization Help the Afghan Children (HTAC) to fund her efforts.
Suraya was born the daughter of the governor of Kabul amid grand walls, beautiful gardens, and peace. In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, she fled to the United States with her husband, their young daughter, their I-94 papers, and little else. In America, she became the workaholic owner of a prosperous real estate company, enjoying all the worldly comforts anyone could want, but when a personal tragedy struck in the early 1990s, Suraya seriously questioned how she was living and soon sharply changed the direction of her life.
Now, in Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse, she shares her story of passion, courage, and love, painting a complex portrait of Afghanistan, its people, and its foreign visitors that defies every stereotype and invites us all to contribute to the lives of others and to hope.
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Suraya Sadeed was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan and immigrated to the United States after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. She founded Help the Afghan Children in 1993 as a response to the humanitarian crisis she witnessed on a trip to her home country during the height of the Afghan Civil War. Since then, Suraya's work has been recognized and honored at the highest levels of government in both Afghanistan and the United States. She has appeared on such programs as the Oprah Winfrey Show and NBC's Weekend Today Show, and her story has been written about in Readers Digest and the Los Angeles Times Magazine as well as a film documentary Inshallah, Diary of an Afghan Woman, produced for the Oxygen Channel. In March of 2006, Suraya's work was recognized by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the White House for her work in Afghanistan.
Read an Excerpt
"Living in the West had given me every material thing that I could have wished for, but at the same time I had lost so much of what makes life worth living. In America my happiness was determined by the interest rate or the state of the housing market. If the interest rate fell, I was happy because I'd have to pay less on my home loans, and likewise if property prices rose. I had lived by that mantra.
Somewhere on the road to Jalalabad I had come back to myself. I had realized that I couldn't measure my happiness by numbers alone. I had helped countless refugees. And what I had gotten in return— experiencing the joy of helping others—was immeasurable. I could feel a new kind of happiness burning in my heart."
From Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse
Table of Contents
Author's Note ix
Prologue: Lessons by Lamplight (1997) 1
Part I Finding Hope in a Lawless Land (1993-1995) 15
1 Help the Afghan Children 17
2 The Beginning 29
3 The Camel Road 39
4 The Devil's Flowers 53
5 The Edge of Darkness 63
6 The Widow Camps 79
7 City of Ghosts 93
8 A Promise to Fatima 107
Part II Under the Iron Fist of the Taliban (1996-2001) 117
9 The Tree of Amputations 119
10 It Is What It Is 133
11 Stoned and Flying Out Here 145
12 The Day the Earth Turned Angry 157
13 Life and Love 169
14 Young Enough to Wed 183
15 New York Comes to Kabul 193
16 Singing with the Taliban 203
17 The Kindness of Strangers 219
Part III Battling for Hearts and Minds (September 2001-Present) 225
18 The Darkest Day 227
19 The Wrong Side of the Border 241
20 The Boy Who Killed the American 251
21 The Gift of Learning 263
Epilogue: Drop by Drop a River Forms 279
What People are Saying About This
"I read this book in one gulp. I couldn't put it down. Suraya Sadeed is an amazing woman who has done what few others have dared, or cared enough, to do. Her life is inspiring, and so is her life stor—this riveting, clear-eyed book." (Mir Tamim Ansary, author of West of Kabul, East of New York)
"For years, Suraya Sadeed has worked tirelessly to help the people of her war-scarred homeland. This terrific memoir is the story of her struggles, her sacrifices, and her hopes. It is the moving life story of a remarkable woman who has overcome personal tragedy and has made it her single-minded mission to bring hope, relief, and a measure of happiness to the brutalized women and children of Afghanistan." (Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
i thought this book was well written, compelling & inspiring and i got a real insight into the lives of the people written about in the book, this is a story that will stay with me my whole life, i highly recommend this book, and it is now my favorite book to buy as a gift!
An amazing book by an amazing woman, but hits book covered some of the same ground as ground as [book:The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe|10809174] especially how tough it was for woman with the Taliban in charge. I did like how at the end she tells of some of the impact the US has had in 2001 and how things have changed, at least in Kabul.