Monday, 24 October 2011

14th October - Picnic in the mountains

Clear blue skies and relief that the night was over. Walnut milk tea for breakfast- a strange flavour of milk/walnuts and salt which may sound delicious but is a tough one to drink every morning as sometimes the milk is a little rancid and there is a strong salty taste!

Autumn in the Hindu Kush with all its colours and the wintry light on the mountains. We went to see a girl in her home to hear about her education and what it has done for her. Many girls gathered and each wanted to tell their stories and there we sat, listening to tales of early marriage, being pulled out of school, becoming mothers so very young. One girl had to get married at 14 when her father died leaving no male relative to look after her, her mother and her sister. She was never able to go back to school. She had her first child at 16 and has had 3 more since and now she says, because of the children, her husband is beginning to show her some love. Her mother was with us in the house and I tried to imagine what a dreadful decision it must be to make your daughter marry so young . No choice in it, she had to do it to save the family.
What came across so much was their absolute desire to have an education. Some of the girls, when banned from school, had escaped their homes and gone anyway without their parents even knowing. The value of education here is so high, I never realised before quite how much it means to these girls to go to school.
Afternoon off and a delightful picnic in the hills beside the lake. It is a paradise here and totally untouched by tourism. We had the whole place to ourselves. Bleached soft sandy shores and a deep green lake surrounded by mountains . The men laid out carpets, collected firewood and boiled up vast cauldrons of rice and green tea. I lay back and slept in the sunshine .
We spent the night in another village, arriving after dark. Small children ran to greet us and took my hand and helped me through the dark streets. It was a totally different evening to the one before. The people were so gentle and kind and polite and the children so well behaved. We had so many in there with us and the children sat looking at our photos and playing noughts and crosses with us. More meat and rice and huge plates of food for us. All so generous ...but hard to eat such volumes!

No comments: