Saturday, 6 October 2012

Worsaj 4th October 2012

Morning light on the mountains of Worsaj and a fading moon. The day starts at Tarusht Community Based School.200 children attend this school and just 30 of them squeeze in to tiny classrooms, while the rest study outside on different levels, shaded by pear trees . The community has lobbied the Ministry of Education to recognise their community based school as a formal primary school and it has just been accepted. So the school will live on at the heart of this community and we have been asked to build classrooms. The land has been given and the plot lies waiting, beside the river....a challenge for us for next year! We are treated to breakfast in the orchard, watched by scores of children, peeping over the wall, clasping the balloons we have just handed out. The new Governor of Worsaj has insisted on following our visit and has brought his armed security with him. Just what we didn't want... a gun in a school. 

 We move on up the valley to Sayed Akramuddin Boys School, where we have funded a Resource Centre, to be shared with Tarusht Girls' School. We receive such a greeting from the splendid headmaster, who has a voice like a foghorn and slaps my hand with joy. Another great character, who plays Buzkashi (kind of polo with a carcass instead of a ball!) and met us last year, begs us to go and ride his horses. All the teachers turn up and we love our time with them all exchanging stories over freshly picked peaches and green tea, before looking at the new centre, with its science lab, computer room and library.

 On to Tarusht, our last school visit. The school looks fantastic, up on the hill, overlooking the river, its new classrooms on several different levels, painted bright blue. Thanks to generous donors, we have funded this school for over 1100 girls.  Once again the girls are all out waiting for us, as well as the teachers and community and bring flowers, gifts and garlands.  Speeches and classroom visits follow. A philosophy class from Redlands High School in the UK have sent some interesting questions out for the girls here and we have the challenge of discussing everything from dreams to success and how we react to it. Some fascinating contributions. Then we take a class of girls and fill in the equation...                    GIRLS + EDUCATION =

 The teachers and students all joined in and we photographed the answers to go on the 10x10 website with answers collected from all over the world in the lead up to International Girls' Day.

Mukhtar takes us down to the river for a picnic. He and the drivers lay out the carpets and start cooking kebabs. I sneak down to the river while the boys sleep in the sun and have a deliciously icy swim in the fast current, washing away the dust of the last few days, looking up at the mountains and bright blue sky. We have delicious kebabs and tea and walk up the hillside in the dusk before driving home.  Leslie and I in the women's quarters, where we sit with 8 women and girls who are fascinated by us and the hours creep by and we sleep very late after yet another evening of overwhelming Afghan hospitality.

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