Book Review of "Kabul Beauty School"

If you thought you knew everything there is to know about beauty schools, you haven’t seen anything like this. In “Kabul Beauty School”, author Deborah Rodriguez-Turner with Kristin Ohlson shares one journey you wouldn’t even imagine. It’s not an adventure I would want because I am too afraid to ever leave the United States but a fascinating one to read about from a woman who has guts.

At the age of twenty-six, Deborah divorced her first husband. She had two kids and couldn’t quite put her finger on it but she always seemed to be restless. She tried college. She tried being a correctional officer. She tried partying. She tried religion. Without a religious background, she jumped right in to a Pentecostal church and married a traveling preacher who turned out to be abusive.

Her second marriage tuned out to be a bad situation. Deborah sent her boys to live with her mother and started trying to find the safest way to escape this relationship. She began going on mission trips, convincing her husband that she would be a good helper to him when he traveled. Then, she also got involved with relief efforts of humanitarian agencies and really enjoyed it.

On her first trip by herself to Afghanistan, she felt a little awkward because all the other volunteers were educated medical professionals. To her pleasant surprise, when she was introduced as a hair dresser, everyone was ecstatic because she could help them feel refreshed in the ditsy desert.

When she returned home, she began brainstorming about how she could make a difference in the lives of Middle Eastern Women by opening a beauty school and teaching them to become hairdressers.

Deborah collected product donations, found someone to ship the product and made contacts to actually make the dream happen. Someone put her in contact with a lady who already had started a school and suggested they join forces so she agreed. She just wanted to help.

Deborah’s husband was very controlling and began making threats in attempt to stop her from leaving him. She had her mind made up and left.

Once she opened her school, friends convinced her that if she planned on staying permanently, she would need a husband. She agreed to enter an arranged marriage as the second wife.

Much of the book introduces the reader to the lives of the women at the school. Sadly, she discovered that she couldn’t help everyone because there were so many sad stories and cultural differences beyond her control. She learned to be grateful those the differences she could make. As of the publishing if the book in 2007, she was still married to her Afghan husband and remains living there. The school had many obstacles to overcome but she did make a difference.

I think the main point of the book is that you have something to offer wherever you live.

Book Review of "The Templars"

There are so many stories about Templars, Knights and Masons. Some are fact and some are fiction. You have to know a little about history to sort through them. Barbara Frale is a historian who gives the reader the history background collected from her research.

The warrior-monks were put together to protect Jerusalem from being taken over by the Muslims. There were multiple countries involved. France and England were two of the major ones. They led the crusades for centuries but were eventually defeated. In the end, between kings and the Catholic Church, they were disbanded. It was a sad ending to their history. There was an inquisition and they were killed.

Much of the book was beyond my knowledge and I kept my laptop nearby to lookup time periods I needed background on. It was very interesting.

From what I comprehended, they began as an honorable group of men who in the end were used as scapegoats, pawns and murdered in the end.

Many people interested in these topics are into the whole conspiracy theories that make for movies.

I’m not into all that but do enjoy learning about history. What I got out of it is that I do not want to support death penalties or torture in any circumstance. Throughout history, there has been so much wrong done to innocent people by deceit or fanaticism. Even for heinous crimes, I would rather just incarcerate and rehabilitate than chance unjustly murdering or harming someone who was innocent or who didn’t submit to an idea.

We have seen these scenarios throughout history from the Templars, to witch hunts, to those refusing to convert to religions, to military revenge. I know in my heart that is not what God would want people doing to each other in his name.

I do believe the military is a necessary part of life that will always be needed. One group will always be trying to take over another and countries need to be able to defend themselves. I am thankful that I have never to to experience war and pray I never do. I am thankful that I live in a country with freedom of religion, democracy and in the age of peace. I am thankful I was born after freedom for slaves, rights for women and civil rights equality. I am thankful for all those before I was born who sacrificed their lives for those freedoms.

"A Long Walk to Water" Book Review

Linda Sue Park helped Salva Dut share his experience as a “Lost Boy” of Sudan who returned home to build a well for his village.

Salva was eleven years old when he began the journey on foot with thousands of other children who were forced out of their villages after soldiers killed their parents. The violent reality included shootings, being eaten by lions and crocodiles, drowning and being abducted to be child soldiers.

The children traveled through Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya. They lived in refugee camps for several years. Salva took interest in learning English so an aid worker taught him. Eventually as a young man, Salva was one of the group permitted to come to the United States.

After a few years in the United States, Salva received word that his father was still alive but very ill due to not having clean water. Salva began his dream of being reunited with his father and finding a way to solve the water problem. With help from many people organizing and raising funds, his dream came true.

Salva returned home and was reunited with his father. He was told his mother was still alive but it was too dangerous to travel to where she was. He only got to see his father because he was in a hospital.

Salva put together a team and drilled a well in the village. His term was that no one could be refused water. The village people had to come together for the benefit of all. Later, he began drilling wells in other villages.

The ending brought the fictional part of the story together with his true story. The fictional story was about a young Nuer girl named Nya about twenty years later who benefitted from the new well. She noticed that the man who gave them the clean water did not have tribal markings on his forehead. She assumed he was from her tribe. She asked someone and was told he was Dinka, not Nuer. She wondered why he would help them. She got up the courage to approach him and said, “Thank you for bringing us the water.”

Girls were now able to attend school because they no longer had to walk for water.

This story is precious to me because of the Sudanese young adults in my life. One is my friend and his family. The other is my daughter in law. My friend is Dinka and my daughter-in-law is Nuer. I love them both.

My friend’s dream is to build a school building for the children in his village. I want to help him. We will need a lot of help. I’m sure each one of the “Lost Boys” have dreams. Although telling their stories is painful, one by one, we can help them build a brighter future for the next generation.