The Walk

June 12, 2005

Agathe, John, Mani and I started our Yakawlang – Chikh Chiran expedition/walk today. “the estimated flight time is 25min… we are gonna be a little bumpy, but nothing to worry about and don’t panic until we start panicing” said the pilot who was flying us from Kabul to Bamayan. “how do we know when you are panicing?” asked Mani.

As we took off john and I were singing “
بـــعد از خدایگانه خدای دلم توئــــــــــی
ائیــــــــنه تمــــــــام نمایی دلم توئــــــــی
بعد از خدا که زنده گی ما بدست اوســت
سوگند میخورم که یگانه خدای دلم توئـی
ای چنگ غم به همراهی اشک و آه مــن
سازی بزن که نغمه سرای دلم تـــــــوئی

Agathe and I were watching the pilots closely to see when they start panicing. We were cracking jokes about how would we take over the plane when the pilots panic.

We went to the station from the air strip. Ali was great – hospitable, nice – as usual.
Bamayan is colder than Kabul, even during the day. Some of us had to put on jackets.

We talked about all sorts of things with Ali. I found out the expression. “به هر صورت خوب بود یا بد بود” “ it might have been good or bad, but anyhow” means it was crap.

When we asked ali, how was the distance learning program or how is the solar system? Or other things we weren’t sure about and wanted his feedback. He said “it might have been good or bad, but anyhow” which means it was crap.

We went to see the chief of police, General Wahadat, we wanted to get a weapon from him, and the idea was to use it if we confront wolves.
On the tiny screen of a video camera he was watching some music.
He was helpful, but as everyone else he was shocked and not convinced that we were gonna do the walk.

We set off for Yakawlang around 1200 with Ali. He is so nice that he didn’t bargain for a better fare, but the price was not outrageous. I realized once you are so cool, others (majority) would also be cool to you.
Ali told me on the way “its unusual to start a trip at 1200 without having lunch, but you guys are unusual so it’s fine”

We stopped by the Buddahs and with a small bribe to police, a police took us to the top. On the way down two kids showed up and were trying to take some money out of Mani. They started coughing and prtended to be sick; Mani asked the litter girl if she smiles so he takes a picture, he’ll give her some money.
On the way everyone was telling all sorts of stories. Ali was talking about a girl who has finished school in Iran and now has returned to home in a village of 15 houses in the middle of nowhere and at least two hour away from Bamayan. She once came to the station and wanted to work and sleep there, she is bored in the village.
Yakawlang is absolutely beautiful with waterfalls and amazing color of mountains and interestingly the mountains change color in different times of day as sun light angle changes. A lot of water in the beautiful valley, the water is quite fast and the driver said there are also some fish in it, he said animals can’t cross the river.

We stayed in UNhabitat meeting room, we moved some chairs and tables and made some room to sleep there are charts and leaflets on the wall which looks like typical consultant work and I don’t think the gus here understand it. the crazy precision of figures and time make it impossible to be any practical document.
Ali didn’t want to stay with us. John and maybe gat assumed he is thinking of his reputation and don’t want to be in a room with a foreign woman. But it’s hard to tell with him if he was being polite or if he was concerned.

The guys in UN are mostly from Logar and with extensive experience of hazarajat, were wondering if they were here under Taliban or not and how would they see the perception of Pashtoons has changed since then.
I am getting sleepy, that’s it for today.

more stuff coming…

June 12, 2005

10 years old children attend classes under scorching sun in Sharana of Paktika province. A total of 78 students including two girls are enrolled in Hisababa School. The students come from tormikhai and hisa baba villages whose school was burnt down by insurgents a month ago. Abdul Ghafoor the teacher said “the reason we have picked this location is, it is the central location for both villages and it’s close to a security checkpoint”

This year the number of students returning to school in paktika has substantially increased, but it’s still surprising to see children in the open air, with no chair or mattress and hardly a couple of books attending a school next to a bumpy road with US armors blowing dust at them, as they pass by real fast.

The two teachers in the school receive no wage or support from the government or any NGO. “I think it’s the right thing to do and I don’t have another job” said Bacha Gul one of the teachers as he was waving a long stick to the students so they stay calm.

Paktika is considered a volatile province with a long border with Pakistan and a high rate of cross border insurgency. “THEY fire rockets at our compound at nights when moon is full. they can’t fire more than three, the security forces spot them after firing two, but one time bastards got my generator” said Russell the logistic officer for UNOPS.

Christian, a colleague and I went to Paktika to assess/survey the possibility of expanding radio voice of paktika reach before parliamentary election.
The PRT is going to pay for six repeaters to be installed in the next few months. If the project happen, it’s the first province in the country which most of its population is covered by FM signal.


June 10, 2005

“this is a country of roses; people are also like rose. they are sweet but they have got thorns”
she doesn’t like roses, and she thinks Afghans grow them a lot.

Paktika trip and the school_Page_2

June 4, 2005

Paktika trip and the school_Page_2
Originally uploaded by Sanjar1.

Paktika trip and the school_Page_1

June 4, 2005

Paktika trip and the school_Page_1
Originally uploaded by Sanjar1.