He looked younger than me and he had moved to America just two years ago. That means when I was playing catcher for a little league baseball team as a kid, he was surviving the Taliban, and then America’s occupation in the aftermath of 911.
He was attending university in Afghanistan for Business Administration. He was the last of his family still in the country. His friends and colleagues threw him a going-away party on campus before he left. The school was attacked not long after, and his close friend, a Stanford graduate and returning PHD student, was killed.
“How was your first week in America?”, I asked.
He laughed and then became serious.
“Everything was different.”
It was difficult adjusting. He says: “Ignore the negative, it won’t help you, focus on the positive.”
He’s going to community college now.
He ran a large scale government program in Afganistan to spread nutrition and education to the kids whose parents were dead. Kids who were now supporting their younger sisters and brothers by begging for bread. And he just finished his first year of computer science here in Silicon Valley.
The ride was smooth, no traffic.
“It’s challenging, but good.”
He started with python, and in the summer he’ll be learning c++.
He struggles to imagine a future for the Home he left, “There are too many outside influences”.
He broke fast with a long time friend today. I didn’t know that it was Ramadan. They were both immigrants.
“We’re all imagrants”.
And then we arrived at my destination, a birthday party for my friend Cody, and I got out of Haider’s car.