Tuesday, 21 October 2014

15th October - My final day...




Ali is my driver today and it is wonderful to see him. He used to drive us up North over the Salang  Pass when security was better. He came on the trip with Matthew Fleming when we opened the first cricket pitch  and it was Ali who handed out the kit to the children, with the broadest smile I have ever seen. He is a gem and we talk about the old days as he drives me to meetings all over Kabul.

I meet with the education department, the Program Director and the engineering department at SCA. It is wonderful to hear from the engineers that AC has funded construction projects at over 70 schools since 2008... And dozens more between 2003 and 2007. This includes our cricket projects and he describes the joy that these projects bring and tells us that the last 2 pitches they completed in Kunduz are being used by the girls. This is wonderful progress. 

I have a meeting with the Managing Director of Moby.  Moby is a massive media company set up by the Mosheni family. They do a great deal to support football in Afghanistan and the Afghan National Team has just won the South Asia Cup, beating 7 time winners, India in the final, which took place in Kathmandu. Celebrations ...using the idiosyncratic Kalashnikov firing...went on all night in Kabul, causing some consternation to those who wondered if the city was under attack! 

In the afternoon I do a presentation to Embassy staff, thanks to a kind invitation from the British Ambassador. They lead a very confined life in Kabul due to the intense security that must surround them and appreciate seeing all the photographs of this beautiful country.

They give me a surprise donation of $6,000 raised from their summer ball. Just fantastic!  I return there in the evening for dinner. I am so blessed to meet such interesting people. Sir Richard Stagg KCMG is our host.  The Minister for Rural Affairs,Wais Barmak, the Ambassador for India-Amir Sinha  and 2 incredible women, Hassina Sherjan, who runs Aid Afghanistan for Education and Nurjehan Mawani, Ambassador for the Aga Khan Foundation are there. It is an absolutely fascinating evening and so stimulating.  Nurjehan was brought up in Mombassa. She went to school at an Aga Khan supported school and can remember the day when the School Board decided to open the school to black children. The British colonials there threatened to cut of their grant for doing so. She remembers not being allowed to sit in a restaurant because of her colour, but instead their family would sit in the car and food would be brought out to them. She and her sisters were amongst the first  generation of girls to go to university and she studied Law and has devoted her life to supporting others. The Aga Khan asked her to come to Afghanistan. The evening gives me a good insight into the political situation in Afghanistan and in to the work of these remarkable people. It is hard to tear myself away.

Now flying over Afghanistan on my way home after the most inspiring trip. I am determined to keep up our work for education and feel that it is such a privilege to work in Afghanistan, to support it's very determined people and to play a part, how ever small, in its future.







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