Cricket comes to Andarab!
An amazing feat! 2 Brits an Afghan and a Swede drive 12 hours to and from a school in Andarab and deliver cricket equipment to the kids.
Set out on a stunning dawn in
We head up towards the Salang ...yet again for me....and stop half way up by the river for a picnic breakfast provided by Jorgen, the Swedish Programme Director for SCA.
A Wonderful breakfast looking up to the snows of the
The tunnel seemed longer than ever, with visibility down to feet in the three kilometres of Stygian darkness, thick with pollution and choking fumes.
On up towards the North for 4 hours and then off the tarmac and on to the off road part of the trip. I didn’t recognise the landscape...there has been so much rain and my last visit was during a drought. The views are so beautiful—valleys stretching for miles, straddling the river, everything so green. Poppies and wildflowers everywhere, farmers in the fields and intricate networks of irrigation channels all full and crisscrossing their way over the land. Huge bands of the
Then ahead, we meet a military ISAF convoy travelling painstakingly slowly and looking wholly out of place in this peaceful, timeless scene. Great armoured vehicles with men armed to the hilt surveying the landscape from the turrets. Huge red signs warn against trying to overtake, so we follow this line along the bumpiest of tracks. None of us can remember how far the school is down this track and as the minutes and hours pass we keep expecting it round every corner...but it never comes!
Then at last, I recognise the local bazaar and see the school. 6 and half hours after we leave
So worthwhile. The school is Sang Boran and is twinned to
We visit all the classes outside and see the new cricket pitch funded by MCC well under construction. Then Matthew is introduced as a famous cricketer from
The boys play on as we are led to lunch in a tiny room overlooking the hills and mountains in this idyllic spot. Have a wonderful lunch all sitting on the carpet eating kebabs and naan with the teachers and watching on my computer, the film of my last visit...which they love.
We say our goodbyes, conscious that with another 6 hours drive ahead of us, we will not reach
Quite a few days for Matthew—who only arrived after 24 hour flight from
As we come back into
But we have seen so much joy today and perhaps we may one day see an Afghan cricketer who heralded from Sang Boran and was inspired by some English cricketer who chanced to call at his school!