Friday, 1 May 2009

Friday May 1st

Pictures have arrived! Paula

Amazing day ...left far too early at 5am and fantastic views throughout journey especially of Hindu Kush as we crossed Salang clear we could see for miles. But also very hard on the back as have done so many miles! 8 hours later rocked up In Kabul and raced straight off to ISAF where the Ditchling Cricket Team were playing the Afghan National team in the Kabul Cup - a truly eccentric event .... first started when the Afghan team visited Ditchling a few years back and beat them and this is the return match.

I arrived at ISAF and walked through the barriers and was given a charming Macedonian soldier armed with machine gun to escort me to the cricket. Bizarre walk through an Afghan bazaar which is especially set up for the Forces. All the soldiers walking around and shopping. Then arrived at the cricket pitch and could have been anywhere in the world. A stand had been set up and it was full of journalists, BBC, ITN name it! Also just happen to be 8 Old Etonians working in Kabul—most as journalists. The Guardian gave me an interview, the Times/Telegraph/Mail ...all there to cover this extraordinary event. It has already been on Radio 4 this morning and will be on ITN tonight. Lovely to meet up with Matthew Fleming, former Captain of Kent and England player who has helped us get all our funding from MCC and will accompany me from now on.

Needless to say the Afghans thrashed Ditchling in a very good natured match with a marvellous and very biased Afghan commentator. At the end an Afghan blowing an instrument and his friend playing the drums were serenading the players in sheer delight and then one of the English cricketers got out his bugle and the two of them had a competition to serenade their team...all great fun. The cup was presented and the Afghans whooped with joy at yet another victory over the British! All the Afghan team came to greet me. The British Ambassador talked to us for ages and promised to help AC with any of our work.

Then the blue skies vanished and a massive storm cloud approached. The wind got up and the skies went black and thunder and lightening crashed across the area. All the tents from the bazaar went flying into the air, the barbeque tent was torn from its pegs and collapsed on all the food, swirls of dust blew plates and food into the air and people dashed for cover as the rain poured down...a dramatic end to this extraordinary event!

Off to the Gandermack tonight for a celebration with the team and then another massive journey tomorrow to Sang Boran school.

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