Thursday, 29 April 2010

27th April

This was sent to me today - I will put chronologically later - I didn't want anyone to miss it! Paula

Awoke in our Afghan home and were served a beautiful breakfast of fresh naan, sweet tea and trout. The day is perfect, with clear blue skies and views to the horizon. Head off after fond farewells, to the lakes in Maidar Valley for a picnic. Today is Muahideen Day and all the schools are closed, so we have a holiday. As we drive up the valley, we pick up various people at each village, until it seems the car ahead can fit no more inside. We have no idea who they all are but everyone is very happy. Pots and oil and rice and tea are loaded onto the vehicles. The journey leads us right up the valley towards the distant Anjoman and the Panjshir Valey beyond.

Teachers join the trip at the last village, armed with fishing nnets to catch our lunch. At last we round the corner and ahead are the famous lakes. For years the local people have been asking me to stay in their villages so that they could show me these lakes, and I see why. We race down the hillside through the brightest red flowers, towards the glacial waters. The backdrop is magnificent, with villages clinging precariously to the mountainside just beneath the snow line and the lake stretching for miles and then dropping over the edge of a massive cravass into a cascading waterfall.

We drive on until we reach a flood plain, where we stop and rugs and cushions are laid out on the grass. All around are the mountains and rivers and streams. Some of the men search for firewood and set up camp, whilst others fish or make tea and the lazier ones swim and play volleyball in the sunshine. The fish soon arrive- some really big rainbow trout caught in the lake and much smaller river trout. They are gutted and laid out on the bonnet of the car and salted in the sunshine. Soon we have a fantastic picnic of fresh fish and rice in this glorious place. We sit planning how we can bring trekkers here who would walk and contribute to the community by funding schools from their trip. There are 3 valleys to be expored and the security is good. Cannot describe what a wonderful day we had .

We came back to the village and walked across the river on stepping stones, followed by a kite tail of childre . We were staying in one of the teacher's houses and arrived just as it was getting dark. Mary and I were ushered straight to the women's quarters, down a narrow alley way and through a courtyard. We sat in a small room and soon there were 21 family in there to see us and we had a really joyful evening. We talked with them all, played with the children and shared gifts, late into the night. We had such language barriers, but managed a really special evening. Wife number one (childless) lives there with wife number 2 - who has between 10 and 18 children... and there are uncles, aunts and cousins living in the house too. The only problem came with supper when they sat and watched us eat ....and some of it was very hard to eat ! Shared the room with wife number one and Medina, one of the daughters of wife number 2. Very little sleep.
This morning we awoke to the cockerel at 5 and the women started working. We sat in the courtyard and watched them set about their daily tasks. The mother tended the animals and milked the cows. She let out the hens and fed all the animals. Guinea fowl scratched around for food. Medina and Rouaida, sat on a platform scrubbing the washing with big blocks of soap.

Water was collected in yellow containers and poured into blackened kettles and all the cooking was done over an open kitchen fire. Bread was made fresh and covered with poppy seeds. We ate it with big bowls of heated fresh milk mixed with crushed walnuts ....and more fish!! It felt really special to have stayed at this home and to have had this brief insight into their lives. The lasting impression is that they have a truly cohesive family and community. no one is lonely in this village.

1 comment:

Maihan Nijat said...

so nice pictures.

cute kids with smiley face.

"Jean and T-Shirt is not cultural of Afghanistan"

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