Woke to another beautiful day, more walnut milk and trout! Said fond farewells and walked into the village square to await the drivers. Spent a wonderful half hour talking to the villagers, watching life go by and looking at the incredible scenery. The village mosque is very old and has beautiful carved wooden balconies. Opposite is a tiny shop, also of wood, the typical Afghan double doored, lock up spaces , with no room to stand, and all jammed high with wares. Outside the shop an old man hugs his grandchildren, 5 turbaned men stand by their truck loaded high with potatoes and a farmer walks by with his goat. I could have stayed there happily, but with the arrival of the drivers, all the men of the village came up to us and shook our hands and wished us goodbye and we sped off down the valley.
We drove to Annoy School, which is our priority build for 2012. Over 700 children are studying outside or in ruined classrooms. I am determined to raise the funds to build this school. Then on to Khadeja Kubretal, the girls school I visited with our donor last year. A huge building project is now underway thanks to some wonderful funding we received and so exciting to see a new school going up. 1100 girls will have a school by the Spring time. I went and met the girls who are all thrilled.
Khadeja Kubretal School
The others went ahead to interview the girl for the film. Mukhtar and I drove another beautiful route to a Community Based School we are running. So remote and set up so that children from this area could go to school. All the main schools are too far away for them to walk to. We left the cars and walked down a steep hill through a quiet mud brick village and down into a flat area shaded by blazing golden sycamores. There, on the wooden balcony of the village mosque, was the Community Based School we are funding . The village provides either rooms in the mosque or in a local home to act as the base for the community school. AC then funds the teacher salary and the books and admin and provides teacher training and for a cost to us of just £35 a year for each child, these children can go to school. And there they sat, chanting the alphabet in one class and drawing in another.
Community based School on the wooden balcony of the Mosque
We went on afterwards to another CBS, far away from this one beside the river , over a very worrying wooden bridge. Climbed through a wooden doorway and came to Viruf CBS and more classes of children. It is so rewarding to see the project in action.
On again to another AC School in Worsaj, where we went to watch a teacher training programme we are funding, which is run by SCA. 27 primary school teachers, including teachers from the CBSs had come along for training . They were all busy making teaching aids for their schools. The room was buzzing with activity and the walls were cluttered with drawings, teaching aids and posters on the Millennium Development Goals . Again really good to see the project in action and to meet some of the teachers benefiting from the funding.
We were given lunch in the school, made by all the teachers—more rice and huge chunks of meat and so generous but oh how I longed for vegetables!
The girls finished the filming in the afternoon. They had their story and had managed to film without ever showing the face of our girl. Night was closing in and it was getting really cold. Began to feel rather bleak, but we were in for a fantastic evening . Drove off to stay in a village with the security chief of the area. The family were so lovely and the house immaculate and cosy. They were the most beautiful looking family with 9 children . The mother had such a serene face and when we talked to her, she told us how she had been so lucky in her life. She had had a love marriage, not an arranged one and had married at 16, when her husband was 18. She said she still loved him and he was a wonderful husband to her . I cannot tell you how good it was to hear this after all the tragic stories we had listened to! We were looked after so well and had the most delicious supper of fresh pumpkin cooked in sugar and yoghurt, huge bowls brimming with hot noodles and beans, chutneys, rice and for pudding , pistachio milk pudding , fresh watermelon and pears. All so spoiling . Wonderful talks in the light of the hurricaine lamp and felt so close to them all.