We Afghans have a Farsi proverb that says: Please teach how to cook fish, not how to eat fish.

When I think about one of the people who has been most important to me, I think of my close advisor — Jayne — and how she followed this proverb.

Jayne has light brown hair that shines like gold in the sun and she has a beautiful smile on her face. She always impressed me with her behavior, talent, and patience. She is a social woman, so all the women in our office loved her. She was my direct supervisor. I had a great time with her. She was intelligent and kind and loved to support everyone—men, women, youth, and children. She loves Afghans and is passionate about helping Afghan women.

She was calm and hard working, but after two or three hours, she told us to take a few minutes’ break. She told jokes and we all laughed. She was the senior person in our office and didn’t let anyone from other departments criticize our work. Instead she worked closely with us to improve our work and support her staff. I worked with her in the communication unit. The first thing I learned from her was how to proofread my work and how to edit. She tried her best to teach me how to do it instead of doing it herself.

For example, I was responsible for uploading our project’s photos to the website, but I didn’t know how. She showed me how to choose the best photos to reflect a good message of our program’s work. She taught me how to write a brief but informative caption for each photo and insert the exact date. When I learned how to upload I chose the best photos and inserted captions. When I showed them to her she asked me why I chose these photos and after she heard the reasons she praised me.

Even now she is my close advisor. Whenever I face difficulty, I email her and she tries her best to tell me how to do it.

The other important thing I learned from her is how to help others. Now when I see one of my colleagues facing some problem I try my best to help them. For example, when my colleagues want to apply for a scholarship but don’t know how to answer the questions, I help them fill out the application, asking them for their own ideas.

Through behavior and good endeavors, Jayne taught me new skills and how to try to support other women.

By Fariba

Photo (and recipe) of brook trout with morels and wild leeks by 40 Rivers to Freedom.