Afghanistan

PEACE in the Country

Afghanistan may not be the first country that you think of when you think of peace, but there are actually several peace organizations working within the country.  Today, I am lucky enough to be cooking one of my favorite dishes with a peace and women’s rights advocate from Afghanistan, Lida.

Lida has worked teaching other women how to read and empower themselves since she was 13.  One organization that she has helped out a lot with is:

http://www.afceco.org/

This organization runs eleven orphanages as well as a shelter for women that have either left their husbands or they have died due to the war, though their main advertised focus is solely the orphanage for the women’s protection.  They are hoping to raise progressive Afghans for a better future in their country.  All kids are treated equal regardless of gender.  They receive a more secular  traditional education as well as an education in drama, martial arts, football, healthcare and first aid.

On their website it states:

“AFCECO is not about saving some children from the street so much as creating prosperity of the human spirit, community out of fragmentation and despair.”

There is also the Revoultionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), which is famous though the membership is kept hidden for the protection of its members.  Their website is: http://www.rawa.org/index.php

This organization gathers firsthand accounts of women’s rights violations and also makes videos to try to bring awarenes to their plight.  They work with several NGOs throughout the country and they are active in protesting against their government, though this is very dangerous.  One such video that deeply touched me can be found below:

We can only hope that the Afghani women’s cause will be heard around the world and when the war is over there will be more in place than just negative peace, but a positive peace that includes equal women’s rights.

PEACE with a Piece of Food

This dish became one of my favorites over a year ago when I had the good fortune of having Lida cook for me.  I have insisted for over a year that she teach me ow to make it, but it wasn’t until I started this project that I got the motivation to finally invite her over to learn it.  For me, Lida is what embodies peace.  Her very presence adds serenity, but its more her endless faith that although she has never known true peace in her country, she believes it is possible.

Another Peace Master student, Taran from Norway, joined us as well to learn the dish that Lida is known for.  I’ll be joining Taran with another Norwegian later this week.

Bronny Bon Jon

Preparation Time: 1 hour-1 hour 30 minutes

Difficulty Level: easy

Servings:  serves 4-5 for a side dish

2 Eggplants

4 medium-sized tomatoes

5 garlic cloves

1 cup plain yogurt

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon curry powder

olive oil

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First, peel the eggplants.  Then, begin frying each slice in olive oil on both sides and set aside.  I like putting them on paper towel to minimize some of the oil, eggplants can be a bit of a sponge for oil!

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Next, lightly fry the tomatoes, and add the salt onto the tomatoes.  Cook until the tomatoes become soft, or sauce-like.

Once tomatoes are sauce-like, remove from pan into a large bowl, then begin dipping each side of eggplant into the sauce, then add back to the pan.  For each layer, sprinkle the minced garlic across the eggplant with tomato.  After all eggplant is layered, turn on high and cover and bring to a boil.  After about five minutes turn down to low and begin flipping the eggplant around.  Continue cooking and keep covered, while moving the eggplant around every few minutes.  Thih s part should take about 20 minutes.

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Top with yogurt.  Lida and I used greek yogurt with a tablespoon or two of water added to give it a more liquidy texture.

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The peace that was created with this meal was in Lida’s gentle teaching style while cooking.  She talked of the times she made this in her family and we all talked about the several times we’ve enjoyed it since she came to Spain.  She shared stories of the struggle for women’s rights in Afghanistan and spoke of her friend that feels helpless with an issue of domestic violence.  We not only shared a meal, we shared our problems and there was someone to listen.

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