Friday, November 15, 2013

Two Rocks

That is the only souvenir I brought back from Afghanistan: two rocks. That is about all I could find while I was there, partly because I was in the hinterlands and partly because the country is impoverished to the point of having little of the range of normal "souvenirs" that I might bring back. There were some high end items, such as rugs and shawls, very modestly priced, but these are not the typical things I bring back. These are things specifically made for tourists, and I prefer back to bring back artifacts of daily life. So, I brought back rocks.

Yet, even had I been able to find some others things, I may have chosen to bring back rocks, anyway. There is something special about bringing back a rock: it is a piece of the land. There is certainly nothing more Afghani than a piece of the country's desert or mountains.

My catechism students understood this very well on some deep level. Last year when I went to Bahrain, I told them I would bring them back anything (within financial reason) that they would like. They asked for rocks! There were many souvenirs I could have purchased easily for them. Instead, one of my good Bahraini friends and I spent an extremely enjoyable evening hunting for the very best rocks on the beaches around Manama. (An island has no lack of beaches -- or rocks.) So, instead of bringing back a curiosity or tourist's treasure, for my students I brought back rocks, uh, a physical piece of Bahrain.

As for the two rocks I brought back from Afghanistan, they will proudly join the rock I plucked years ago from the Yambash River in Turkmenistan near the Iranian border. I may have left both countries, but with my rocks, the countries will never leave me. Now, what could be a better souvenir?


  1. How very interesting to hold onto a piece of the earth! There's something very meaningful in that! It's as if you could build your own model of the world, piece by piece, by saving a lasting souvenir from each place you visit!

  2. I had not thought of that, Anne. I suppose I could! You are up very early!! (Or are going to bed very, very late.) What is keeping you awake?

  3. your post reminded me of something my younger sister and i did for my mother's birthday once back in the 70s. we collected little white rocks for her and put them in a pretty mug for her birthday. we had seen a show once where a girl collected little white rocks and polished them and gave them to her mom for a present. so, influenced we did the same thing. it was a good memory. thanks.

  4. I have brought back rocks from a couple of my trips, too. I remember my daughter at 4 years old grabbing a BIG rock from a friend's pasture! Jesus said, "Upon this rock, I will build my church." Plus the rock is a visual reminder to pray for that area.

  5. Oh dear that 's really good. Now you have a peice of Afganistan with you (smile).
    In India you can find thousands of very cheap momentos to tak back.

    An uncle of mine is travelling to the Holy Land I aske d him to bring back seeds from there and water from Jacob 's well etc.

  6. Tooo cool...... Awesome souvenir!
    Awesome trip as well it sounds like!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yeah... another non-shopper!

    God Bless,

    Holly :)

  7. Thanks for sharing your memory, Michele.

    Interesting thoughts, Misslynda. So you go after rocks, too!

    Did the seeds grow, Amrita?

    Thanks, Holly. Yep, another non-shopper!

  8. Hi Elizabeth, my uncle will go to the Holy Land next month. I have just made a request.Hope he remembers it.

    A lady once gave us a fig tree sapling which originated in the HolyLand and we had a huge fig tree in our back yard. But for some reason my parents had it cut down, maybe to make space for a vegetable plot

  9. Ha! That reminds me of my youngest step-daughter, Sydney. She tends to pick up rocks from places we go hiking or walking: the lake, the trails, etc. I guess rocks have a special meaning. A piece of the place she is enjoying, taking back with her good memories!