Setara, a 17-year-old from Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, remembers falling asleep at her grandmother’s house as a girl. Grandma Gul, or Grandma Flower, would sit beside her with a cup of chai and rock-sugar candies and tell her stories. One of these was the story of Yalda, a traditional Afghan tale about a village girl who meets a feared “witch” on the longest night of the year.
AUDIO AND VIDEO PRODUCTION BY MAHBOOB FAIZI INTERVIEW BY KAMI L. RICE
Mahboob Faizi, a member of the Anthrow Circus family, reached out to me in April looking to fashion a story about his concern over how people back home in Afghanistan would be able to weather the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. From his current home in Greece, he was feeling rather powerless to know how to help them. Over the months that followed, I interviewed him and helped shape the account we present here. Mahboob, who works in media production for a nonprofit organization, recorded our audio, supplied images, and did the production work.