Tahmina celebrates its 2nd Anniversary this week, and we’re kicking off a blog series called, “The Ones I Love,” featuring stories from our anonymous founder and the relationships she’s built during her time in Afghanistan. These will be personal and intimate stories of courageous Afghan people who have endured unimaginable injustices and yet have responded with the most incredible resilience.
Happy 2nd birthday to Tahmina! This week marks our second year as a company, as well as four years that I’ve been living in Afghanistan. It’s been four years in a warzone, two years as a startup, and many hours, cups of teas, and conversations that have brought us to this small milestone.
The natural thing for most companies to do at an anniversary is to focus on the numbers: how much money we’ve made, what percentage we’ve grown, etc. We are living in a culture that increasingly values numbers, high growth, and performance. With the emergence of tech unicorns and fast companies, there’s a new narrative in the American business space of explosive profitability and billion dollar exits. While these metrics are valuable and important, it’s in this context that we want to champion what might not be immediately intuitive: the relationships that we have forged with the people of Afghanistan over the past few years.
When I left America, I knew that I would be missing out on a season of life with my friends and family. I’ve missed birthdays, weddings, and even the death of my grandfather. These were all part of the cost of living overseas that I was soberly aware of before I moved. But in that place, when I landed in Afghanistan, I was quickly embraced by our coworkers and friends and invited into the richness of their lives. We have shared our lives with Afghans over meals, cups of tea, weddings, babies, and tragically, many funerals. And over the past 4 years it is these Afghans who have become my family, the ones I love. Love is a strong word, and I do not use it lightly. The stories that will be highlighted here are people who I have shared life with in the smallest moments of joy and the deepest seasons of grief. We have walked through light and darkness, and continue to walk that journey together.
"There is a road from heart to heart." - Afghan proverb
Behind every brand is a story, and behind every product is a person. We believe that the individuals behind Tahmina have lived incredibly full and rich lives, and this month we want to share those stories with you. Afghan culture has a wealth of proverbs, and there’s one that translates to, “there is a road from heart to heart.” The Afghan people have paved their ways into my own heart, and I hope these stories will reach your hearts as well. I hope these stories will show you that even though we may all be so different, mothers will sacrifice for their children, all of us protect our loved ones in the face of danger, and deep down there is so much inside of us that is actually the same.
At Tahmina, we believe in these relationships, and we believe that they will change the world. We desire to connect the world together, not just from heart to heart, but from country to country by paving pathways of commerce and connection.
Tea is a central part of Afghan life. It is the first thing that is offered to a guest, and in a place of war like Afghanistan, it is an expression of trust and the handshake of peace. When someone welcomes you into their home and offers you a cup of tea, they are implicitly saying, “I trust you and extend peace to bring you into an intimate space of my life.” Over the years I have been privileged to be welcomed into the homes of many Afghans, first as a guest, and then as a friend. Over cups of tea I have shared laughter and connection, and over cups of tea I have also heard vulnerable stories of the deepest atrocities that should not exist in our world. And over those same cups of tea I have watched my friends walk through the reality of courage and resilience.
We’re celebrating our anniversary week with a sale, and we want to give back to you, our consumers, who have been the most wonderful community of support in this early stage of our company. We hope to give you the gift of a cup of tea, which is more than just a drink. It is a space to share your heart with another person, a moment to be vulnerable, and a warmth that gives you courage to face the world. There is a road from heart to heart.