Sarah has sent me her blog for Wednesday and Tuesday afternoon (scroll down to see). Paula
Woke up to sunshine! Absolutely beautiful morning, floodwaters dried up and away we went to Worsaj. The clearest skies and the Anjoman pass and surrounding mountains covered in snow. Always a specatacular journey and so good to be back. The air incredibly clear and scented with fresh mint and thyme.
4 hours down very bumpy tracks carving its way down the valley by the river...everything so green from the rain and above the fields, the harsh black of the rocks and then the snow line. Along our way we passed shepherds with flocks of sheep round every bend of the road, donkeys with striped saddle bags piled high with yellow rape, young boys with baby calves and girls in stunning bright coloured shalois chamise in reds and purples carrying vats of water. Oxen pulling ploughs, tiny mud bricked villages perched precariously on the mountainside, Kucho nomads drying their colourful carpets in the sun, fishermen casting their lines or nets..... it is like going back in time.
Passed 3 of our schools and finally arrived at Zouhruddin, where, as ever, received the most overwhelming welcome. So many familiar faces and such heartfelt greetings. Kids everywhere throwing confetti and handing us bunches of flowers and kissing us and putting garlands of flowers over our heads. School looks amazing and nearly finished.
Went to classrooms and visited all kids as they all wanted to see us and give us presents. Fascinating time asking them questions about their lives and dreams ...22 of them got to university last year and 35 from the boys school—just incredible ...not a single girl has a literate mother. Most want to become doctors. Speak so eloquently and many in English. They are aware of the girls in
Sayed Oberdin is a splendid man who was a commander against the Russians and has spent his time since then fighting to get girls educated in his village...his daughter was the first girl in the province to attend university. He comes up and announces that he has kept his promise to me....I said I would only build a school wall if they let the girls do sport.....and sure enough he has put up our volley ball nets and taught them to play. We all go outside and are given a demonstration match, watched by all the school. So great to see them play and marvellous to watch Sayed Oberdin darting amongst them giving them lessons in throwing... such a change to see a man among the girls helping them .
They show me science lab, computer room...to which they have brought electricity - microhydro electric power, themselves, and library...all immaculately kept. Fantastic school!
We are given fresh trout from the river and a plate of tiny birds...their heads still on ....to eat for lunch.........never had this before!! The lead teacher demonstrated how to eat them and bit the head right off the tiny bird with a great crunch!
Then on to a second lunch in a teachers house... .amazing little home with a wooden courtyard and outside bread oven and fire for cooking. We sat with all the girls of the family and the men ate next door...wonderful relaxed lunch ...
Then time to head off and many fond farewells. I am going to try and plan a trek here to raise funds... the villagers say the mountains are spectacular and they will be our guides.
Visit the boys school on the way back. Introduce cricket....with bats donated by Fairstead Trust...have a wonderful time coaching the kids. One of their teachers was a refugee in
Saw the new building going up by the river and looked at all the kids in tents and huddled in wooden classrooms which usually serve as stalls in the bazaar and think that next time they will be in a new school thanks to one of our fantastic donors.
Such a positive day and as we rattle back and crunch along the rocky track home, we are all so happy and feel once again that we have seen such a very positive side of life here and find it hard to believe that in other parts of the country things are so awful.
Get a message to say that 8 people including ISAF have been in an explosion in Ali Abad—that beautiful place we passed through on our way from