The following Muslim customs culture story is related by Mark Ritchie in his book God in the Pits: the Enron-Jihad Edition. After traveling to Afghanistan to bury his late father who was working as an engineer there, Ritchie relates a story of ultimate kindness that became a turning point in his search into the claims of Christianity.
Afghanistan socioeconomic status
Sitting on the floor in his home, enjoying his generous hospitality, he told us stories about his work with our father. He told us that Dad had been like a father to him and because of that, he considered us to be his brothers and sister. When he had heard of the accident, being ignorant of the details, he had taken a bus from Herat to Kabul only to hear the news of Dad's death and learn the news that there was no way he could even see our mother.
His concern left a warm impression. For an Afghan to travel from Herat to Kabul was a bigger undertaking than for us to come here from Chicago. Certainly it was a greater financial sacrifice for him. This was indeed like meeting a long-lost relative, a loved one of our father's, and it reminded me of the words of Christ when he said that no one would give up father, mother, houses and lands, brother and sister, who would not receive back a hundredfold in this life.
Our new friend, adopted brother, told us that he and his wife had no children. To be without children in Afghanistan is not only a disgrace, it is also a significant economic threat. Without children it's impossible for one to be secure in his old age. He also told us what it was like to be a Hazara, a minority race in Afghanistan severely discriminated against. Only allowed to hold manual-labor jobs, he was considered to be no more than a beast of burden. These people are identified by a very slight oriental feature to their face, thought to be the result of the invasion of the fierce oriental warrior Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century.
Disadvantages of Globalization on Culture
A man could hardly have more going against him. He was the citizen of one of the most backward countries in the world. He bore the disgrace and insecurity of being childless. And he was a member of a cruelly treated minority race. I was finding comfort in my time of grief in the most unsuspecting of places.
We stepped out of his home to be greeted by the friendly sunlight of the garden and were again surrounded by the warm Herat wind. He walked us out through the garden toward the main entrance to the compound where he would say good-bye. The serenity of the atmosphere invited me to move here and stay forever.
As we were leaving he reached his hand into his pocket. James turned to me. "He wants to know if we need any money."
His request stopped me short. Though I hadn't yet made my first million in the market, I was well on my way. I was a well-respected independent trader on the biggest commodity exchange in the world. I was Mr. High-rolling, High-shooting, High-financial hotshot. I made more money in a fifteen-second trade than this man would make in his whole lifetime. Yet here he was, reaching into his pocket and wondering if I had a need and if he could help.
There was no comfort like this to be found in my civilized West. God had dragged me halfway around the world and all around this country of Afghanistan in a broken down car to allow me to experience the most overwhelming expression of love and kindness I would ever know.
I thought it all over while standing there in the warm stillness among the flowers, shaking my head in speechless awe while controlling my tears. That rule about money not buying happiness that I had so insisted on learning for myself; God had just handed out lesson number one. One of the most satisfying moments of my life had been single-handedly delivered to me by the most cash-poor of his creatures.
Excerpt from God in the Pits, The Enron-Jihad Edition, by Mark Andrew Ritchie
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