So I have this sore shoulder that has some swelling in and pain. I go for injections to give symptomatic relief. I can’t drive afterwards for insurance reasons and as the hospital is miles from public transport that means a taxi. I book a taxi. The driver picks me up and I sit in front, as usual, and we chat. He’s from Afghanistan. When did he leave, I ask. When he was very small. Did he come with family? No, although relatives helped him out in his journey through India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and into Greece. He gets to England in 2004 and is in primary schooling before the British Government send him back to Greece where he is not put in school. He moves to the Netherlands and meets a nice Afghan girl and they marry and they both come to the UK (now on proper papers) and settle in Kent nearby. They have two children and the elder (age 4) is just about to start primary school. But my taxi driver is worried. His education finished when we kicked him out to Greece. He works hard driving his taxi (and his first job each day is taking a group of children every day to a local independent day school). He is worried he won’t be able to help his children with their work. That act of disrupting his education strikes me as a deeply unwise one. I wondered what opportunities he now had to improve his education, given the hours of work he has to do driving his taxi. We reach the hospital and shake hands. I wish him luck.
Inside the hospital, I meet the consultant who is going to inject my arm. What do you do, he asks. I lead a research centre on Christianity and education, I reply. He tells me his from India and is a Hindu, but nowadays things have gotten crazy with these fanatics. He says, he remembers all this stuff happening back in India between India and Pikistahan but never thought it would come here to the UK (and all over). Last week he was giving the same treatment to a guy sitting on the same treatment couch I was sitting on, an armed response officer who was at the London Bridge incident last week. That patient told him, about three years ago everything changed. Now they are on constant high alert to respond at any moment.
I get driven home by a white British taxi driver who chats about other things. I decide that I won’t mention the two other conversations I have had during the day.