Thursday, 23 October 2008

22nd October - Kunduz RAD

Kunduz Rehabilitation for Afghans with Disabilities Centre - always my favourite school in Afghanistan. About 30 of the 45 students are deaf and the rest are mentally disabled or have special needs. They throw themselves into my arms and I am immersed in a mass of little bodies, all kissing me and hugging me and frantically signalling in sign language. It is humbling and emotional coming here and always leaves its mark as one of those very special places. The children are so disadvantaged and yet give so utterly. The teachers are gentle and dedicated and always greet us very warmly. One lives in Fakhar, near the valley where we have built 4 schools and says that everyone knows and supports our work.

We spend a wonderful morning with these children. We have brought sweets, biscuits and drinks with us for a party and blown up lots of balloons for the kids. We hand out all the cards and gifts from Arbour Vale Special Needs School and they are thrilled. The children here have made a beautiful wall hanging for us to take back to Arbour Vale.

I have bought a TV and video set for them so that they can watch special DVDs and teaching aids. We put up the film I took when I was last here and have the most wonderfulo hour sitting amongst the children, watching the sheer delight and joy as they watch themselves on the screen. It is such a happy hour for us all.

We go outside and join the boys and girls in their separate volley ball matches. We bought the equipment and shirts and track suits for them all on our last visit and they have looked after everything beautifully.

A feast is prepared for our lunch before it is time to say goodbye. This is always emotional and as the children climb on to the bus they cling to my hand and kiss me and hug me and beg me to take them with me back to England. They all lean out of the bus as they wave frantically goodbye and we finish our life changing visit to the North of Afghanistan....and one which has been truly inspiring and has made me even more determined to help these people.