Monday, 8 October 2012

Girls cricket camp in Kabul

Today was our Girls cricket camp in Kabul. Our day started in the compound car park where we unloaded 2 Land Rovers full of cricket kit, laid it out and sorted it in to piles of kit to distribute to the schools where we have built pitches and to the girls camp today.

We had to move schools for the camp location at the last moment and having arranged for the Ambassador to come and hand out the  kit, which had been collected together by Simon Batty, who works at the Embassy, and for the BBC to film in celebration of International Girls Day, the logistics were a worry. Even on our way, I had a whole lot of calls from the Embassy about a violent demonstration about the change of name for Kabul University, and wondered if it would all go ahead......but it did!

We arrived at the school after a little time lost in the back streets of Kabul. It is in a Hazara area of the city. The Hazaras have suffered terrible persecution during the years of war. They are much more progressive than the Pashtuns as regards female education and  so it was a good area in which to hold the camp.

After all the worries, it was so uplifting to see these girls out in cricket kit, receiving coaching from a former Afghan national team player...a hero! He was assisted in his coaching by 2 fantastic girls who we coached last year and who are talented cricketers. Phillip Hodson, President of the MCC, was there bowling to the children and helping with batting skills.  It is such a total pleasure, and so rewarding, to see so much joy.

The BBC arrived and Andrew North did some interviews with the girls and was soon surrounded by girls longing to be on camera and to talk with him. These girls are so friendly and determined and we all felt uplifted just through talking with them.

The Ambassador arrived amid tight security and handed out bats to the children and was interviewed by the BBC.  The girls thanked us so much and begged us to return. What a day!

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