Through Dust and Darkness: A Motorcycle Journey of Fear and Faith in the Middle East

Rocky Mountain Books Ltd
3
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Jeremy Kroeker is a Mennonite with a motorcycle. He doesn’t have a funny beard and he’s never even driven a buggy, but his family hails from the same Mennonite community that Miriam Toews fictionalized in A Complicated Kindness. From childhood through college, Kroeker attended Christian schools where he learned to think critically back to predetermined conclusions.

Years later, when his faith begins to unravel, Kroeker stops short of tossing it all aside, choosing instead to leave every unanswered question hanging there on the edge of his mind. He might have gotten away with it, too, except for a drunken resolution that forces the issue of God back into his life. In the fall of 2007, Kroeker decides to ride his motorcycle across Europe and into the theocratic nation of Iran... a nation ruled by God.

In the end, Kroeker finds himself on a forbidden visit to the holiest Muslim shrine in all of Iran. Once inside, invisible hands reach into Kroeker’s chest and rip from his heart a sincere prayer, his first in many years. And God hears that prayer. For before Kroeker can escape Mashhad, God steals into his hotel room one night to threaten him with death. At least, that’s one way to look at it.

Throughout the narrative, Kroeker swings from dogmatic belief in God to overwhelming doubt before finally deciding that the key to approaching God is humility. He understands that uncertainty is not only an acceptable state of mind when considering the Divine, but it is necessary. He will always fear God. But who knows? Perhaps if he keeps riding, one of these days God will speak clearly. And that frightens him, too.

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About the author

Jeremy Kroeker is a freelance writer, a speaker, mountaineer and the award-winning author of Motorcycle Therapy – A Canadian Adventure in Central America. With his motorcycle, he has travelled to over 30 countries while managing to do at least one outrageously stupid thing in every one. He has evaded police in Egypt, tasted teargas in Israel, scrambled through minefields in Bosnia and Lebanon and wrangled a venomous snake in Austria. One time he got a sliver in El Salvador. His writing has appeared in newspapers such as the Toronto Star, Winnipeg Free Press and Calgary Herald, and in U.S. magazines such as Alpinist, and Outrider Journal. He was born in Manitoba, grew up in Saskatchewan and currently lives in Canmore, Alberta.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Rocky Mountain Books Ltd
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Published on
Sep 25, 2013
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781927330753
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Christianity / Mennonite
Travel / Essays & Travelogues
Travel / Middle East / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid to this war-torn nation. Surrounded by men and women whose skills–as doctors, nurses, and therapists–seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother of two from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she soon found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and once her profession became known she was eagerly sought out by Westerners desperate for a good haircut and by Afghan women, who have a long and proud tradition of running their own beauty salons. Thus an idea was born.

With the help of corporate and international sponsors, the Kabul Beauty School welcomed its first class in 2003. Well meaning but sometimes brazen, Rodriguez stumbled through language barriers, overstepped cultural customs, and constantly juggled the challenges of a postwar nation even as she learned how to empower her students to become their families’ breadwinners by learning the fundamentals of coloring techniques, haircutting, and makeup.

Yet within the small haven of the beauty school, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts: the newlywed who faked her virginity on her wedding night, the twelve-year-old bride sold into marriage to pay her family’s debts, the Taliban member’s wife who pursued her training despite her husband’s constant beatings. Through these and other stories, Rodriguez found the strength to leave her own unhealthy marriage and allow herself to love again, Afghan style.

With warmth and humor, Rodriguez details the lushness of a seemingly desolate region and reveals the magnificence behind the burqa. Kabul Beauty School is a remarkable tale of an extraordinary community of women who come together and learn the arts of perms, friendship, and freedom.


From the Hardcover edition.
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