We were up at dawn to film the sun rising over the mountains and the moon slipping away behind the great range of the Hindu Kush. The mornings are a hive of activity in Worsaj. The narrow streets are filled with shepherds taking their animals to pasture. Women and children are out collecting water in large yellow cans, and the fields are already busy with farmers harvesting and ploughing. All in the most beautiful morning sun which sends long shafts of light through the dust.
One woman flattens balls of dough on a giant curved cushion, stretching it out in to huge rounds before pricking it and handing it to the other woman. She flicks water across it and leans right over into the fiery bread oven and slaps the dough against the inside wall.
When it is done she removes it with a cloth and throws it into a basket. I long to take it out and smother it in honey...but instead it is time to walk to school.
frame hidden beneath her deep blue burka which catches the light and makes her look as if she is floating within the billowing folds of blue.
Children are arriving at school, climbing steep slopes and approaching from every direction. Some have garlands and flowers for me and they come up and put them over my head and into my hands as a thank you for the school.
The other girl, Halima went to Taloqan University and studied chemistry and physics. She was unable to find a job, but the SCA school consultant heard about her and made her a teacher at the CBE. She is delighted and the children all say she is a wonderful teacher. Things have really changed here. The women are so much more confident than they were just a few years ago. And they are happy to have their photographs taken.
This is also a Community based School, but it has been recognised as a formal primary school by the government now and goes up to grade 8. As we arrive, we see a line of children waiting for us with posters with hearts on saying “Wellcom Sara Fane”.
As we walk up, they all start clapping and putting garlands of flowers over my head. In clouds of dust, they surround us in a cheerful crowd and make their way to the classrooms. This is a new school building completed by AC last year. I visit every classroom giving out balloons and chatting to the children.
We show photos of our families to them and do our best to talk in pigeon Dari. I play games with the children. Supper comes and again, huge plates of rice and meat and we vow to live off vegetables for the rest of our lives! Then they bring in another special...sweet sticky white rice in a great pile, with a hollow in the centre filled with oil. We have not one ounce of room left and we must eat on!