Kate McCord is the pseudonym of the author of In The Land of Blue Burqas, a memoir of her five years in Afghanistan. McCord chronicles her experiences detailing what it’s like for a foreigner, specifically a foreign woman to live and work for an NGO in Afghanistan. Her stories are enthralling and even a bit frightening. This book unlike anything I’ve read before; this is an incredibly comprehensive, insightful and relevant book on learning and understanding Afghan culture through Western eyes.
McCord took great pains to learn the Dari language and immersed herself in the Afghan culture. In story after story, I am impressed with the way the author answers questions about America, her own life and her faith (she’s a Christian) with her Afghan neighbors. Through McCord’s narrative, the reader gains a greater understanding of life in Afghanistan, specifically for woman, and of the Islam religion. She knows Afghans love a good story; it’s impressive to read how she relates the parables of Jesus in a way Afghans can relate to and understand. Over and over again, McCord teaches the love of God to those she encounters. It’s heartbreaking to realize what a tough concept this is for her Afghan friends and neighbors to grasp.
Afghanistan today strongly resembles life much as it was for the Israelites at the time of Jesus according to McCord’s descriptions. As she speaks of “Honorable Jesus” to her Afghan colleagues, friends, and adversaries, I’m reminded just how relevant the Bible is and can be in all times and all cultures. In The Land of Blue Burqas is an engaging and thought-provoking read. I’m impressed at McCord’s honesty, perseverance and love for people so far removed from the life we know as Americans.