Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Some of Herat...

I wanted to place a coupla pictures I have taken of the children of A-Stan since I have been here in country. Not only are they insatiably curious but they happen to be the future of this country.

This is one of my favorites taken at the Herat boys school. There are 3,500 boys ages 6-16 here trying to get an education despite the conditions under which they have to study. The main building is an empty windowless shell givin to the kids by the Afghan national police. Behind it you can see the tomb of Alexander's daughter dating back to the second century with it's minerets stretching to the sky.

Upon seeing us arrive ,we caused kind of a stir, the headmaster called the school day over and the mob of children decended upon us like a swarm of locusts. Smiling and waving, shaking hand after hand and laughing like lunatics we basked in the love of these kids who just wanted to see the soldiers and their cool toys.

As I was trying to get back through the crowd a boy of about twelve turned to me and said "America...Yes, thank you...thank you." I reached out my hand and the picture was taken. We two humans, so different yet so alike. A finer moment I cannot recall. Bless them all.

Some of the others were taken at the girls school outside Herat at Jabra'il. There I got my first look at the young women of A-stan with out the manditory burka. These girls were fearless and walked right up to me and started asking me my name, age, was I married, did I have kids etc...typical girls....how about that! They were and always will be a wonderfully memorable moment of my time here.

Some of the elders who have lived throught he worst of the Soviets, Taliban, and the tribal warlords have the wisdom to accept the help and assistance of the outside international community but it is these children who dare to dream of a free land without the pain and anguish of another war.

It is my prayer that in some small way I have helped them to gain that goal.