Monday, 24 October 2011

16th October - Visiting Community Based School, Ashrafia Boys School and Tarusht School

Bad night. Had a crying baby in the room and all sorts of people coming in and out throughout the night. Love the mornings in these places. The moon still up over the mountains. Mother carrying huge piles of sticks and casting them into a hole in the ground where she is making her morning fire to heat the water. The father is letting the cows out , the daughters help with the breakfast and the sons fetch the water. Then the mother asks me to take a photograph of her with her husband. This simple act of affection is a first for me to see in Afghanistan. The two of them stand side by side, smiling and laughing and the light catches their faces. I have the most beautiful photographs of them. I shall keep them and not show them to anyone but them, but they will always be a moment of hope and happiness in a place where in the last 27 years of travelling, I have not one photograph of a man and woman like this. I almost envy them this happiness.

Daughter and her father below

Breakfast was a feast and it made me laugh when the mother told me that she gets her recipes from the television. Though we seem to be in the furthest most primitive corner of the world, the outside world is definitely creeping in. The walnut milk is laced with sugar, the giant rounds of flat brown bread are fresh and warm, straight from the bread oven and there is local honey and bowls of walnuts to have on the bread and fresh trout plucked from the river that morning. Acts of generosity and care and it is hard to leave these very special people. Feel a very strong bond with them and find it very sad to say goodbye.

We are visiting another Community Based School which AC is funding and like all these schools, it is remote. There is a small doorway in an adobe wall, which we clamber through. We are greeted by teachers with presents of scarves and flowers and garlands. This school is thriving and already has classes up to grade 6 and will soon be recognized by the Ministry of Education as an official Primary School. They need a building . There are 300 children attending and only 2 classrooms. These are dark and small and when you step outside of them , you enter a courtyard full of children studying under the Autumnal trees in the soft morning sunshine. Above the courtyard are 2 more levels, and on each level there are more open air classrooms. Everywhere the chant of children. Alphabets, poems and the Qu’ran. We visit every classroom. The teachers then present us with a letter, signed with signatures and thumbprints, asking for official recognition and a proper building .

This will be a priority for 2013.

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