A former teacher and counselor with St. Joseph Christian School has published a book about her time leading a school in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Gail Goolsby and her husband, Michael, moved to the war-torn country in 2005 in order to open the International School of Kabul.
Michael Goolsby had first visited the country in 2002 with Brookdale Presbyterian Church and became interested in returning, although his wife first hesitated at the thought of moving from St. Joseph to Afghanistan. The prospect of being able to bring education to the city eventually convinced her.
“I found out about the school opening, and because I’m an educator, I was kind of overwhelmed by the idea that there would be a chance to be part of such a great gift to a country where education had been diminished under the Taliban,” she said.
Now, anyone interested in Goolsby’s seven years in Kabul can read about her experiences in “Unveiled Truth — Lessons I Learned Leading the International School of Kabul.” The book is part memoir, part life lessons Goolsby recounts.
Reflecting on her experiences in Kabul helped Goolsby put them into perspective, even if it was painful at times.
“If people don’t reflect, they lose the real, deeper meaning of their life experiences,” Goolsby said. “They just want to almost forget it. And when you do that, especially if you’ve had a real hard time, then you have pain without the gain.”
Goolsby began writing down her experiences shortly after she and her husband returned to St. Joseph in 2012 and finished the first manuscript in 2015. As an unpublished author, Goolsby had trouble finding a publishing house to give her a chance and eventually decided to self-publish with the help of a publisher she met in Wichita, Kansas, where she currently lives.
“I’m a finisher. I’m not a person who likes to start things without finishing them,” she said. “When it was finally done, I just cried.”
Goolsby now works as a life coach with a variety of people, including clients who are preparing to re-settle in the United States after spending time in different cultures.
“They like to work with someone who understands re-entry,” she said. “It takes time to get back into who you are and your new identity. America can be almost shocking and kind of too much, like going to Walmart after you’re used to little bazaars.”
Goolsby also hopes her book will show readers a side of Afghanistan they might not know.
“They’re very open to sharing what they have, even with people they hardly know, and it’s just really different than American hospitality on that front,” she said.
“Unveiled Truth — Lessons I Learned Leading the International School of Kabul” is available as an e-book and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online book retailers.