Kabul, Afghanistan is one of my favourite cities in the world.
It gets a lot of bad press. It has witnessed suffering and tragedy on a horrendous scale. And yet its people have retained an admirable dignity, they have held on to an ancient respect for hospitality, and despite what many media sources would have you believe, they have embraced the modern world without rejecting their cultural values.
One day, many years ago now I was on a walk up the side of a hill on the outskirts of the city with my family. A young boy and his sister climbed up behind us, carrying a tray of tea and biscuits. On the dusty mountainside they laid out a cloth for us to sit on and served us like kings. They asked nothing in return. They told us heartbreaking stories of the losses their family had suffered, and then they disappeared.
I have never seen or heard from them again. And yet their act of generosity and kindness – like the city they lived in – has left a deep and lasting impression that will never leave me.