Tuesday, 6 November 2007
November 2007 - Stage 1
(posted by Paula - sent to me via email early this morning....)
After a 26 hour journey with a 6 hour delay in London and a missed flight in Dubai I touched down in Kabul and was overjoyed to see Nassir, my driver from the Spring and my luggage. I had managed to get 45kg of gifts and letters from the UK schools to Kabul with no excess charge. So much has changed in Kabul. More tarmac, wider roads, more constructions and far more people. Thick smog of pollution from all the generator diesel and the traffic. Wonderful to be back.
Monday saw all day meetings at Swedish Committee, followed by meeting with Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British Ambassador to Afghanistan at his Kabul residence. A fascinating and really productive meeting. Today, Tuesday, a meeting at 7.30 at the SCA offices with all the twin school consultants from every region of Afghanistan. I gave a presentation on our UK project and they handed over gifts and letters from the Afghan schools for their English schools. They will receive all UK twin school material this week and take back to the schools. Most of these regions are inaccessible to expats due to security and we are so grateful for their help.
The UN flight from Kabul left at 11am. ISAF helicopters all over the airport and flying all around us. It was a tiny jet and such a spectacular flight. Afghanistan is so dry and dusty and arid from the air. Incredible to fly over the mountains and sweep down into Faizabad, landing on a tiny camouflaged metal runway surrounded by mountains and protected by German security troops. I was last here in 2001 when the area was under Taliban regime. So good to be back and such a beautiful place.
Met by Merlin – the NGO now run by Dr Paul Sender who was employed by AC as Paediatrican 2003-5. AC has funded 19 vaccine refrigerators for Merlin's programme here –used to help with 72,000 vaccines for women and children this year. I visited the clinic outside the town in amazing countryside….all the locals trotting past us on donkeys. Saw vaccination programme in action and met midwife and doctor. The Clinic needs a delivery suite and will try to fundraise for this. More clinics tomorrow all around Badakshan. My feet have hardly touched the ground, schedule so packed!