Friday, December 19, 2008

Visiting Afghan Schools

Another week without much going on in terms of violence. School is currently out except for the teacher's college and the University. Most schools have no heat or electricity, so the vacation that our kids get in the summer, happens in the winter here.

Schools in Kabul are well-attended and crowded. Don't think for one minute that the Afghans have no desire to learn and have their children, including girls, go to school. Over 6 million children are currently enrolled in school -- about 2 million are girls.

In spite of some acid-throwing incidents in Khandahar province a few weeks ago (girls going to school were targeted by thugs on motorcycles), attendance is way up across the country. Villagers apprehended the acid-throwing thugs and turned most over to the police (they were "roughed up a bit"). A few recieved summary and terminal justice at the hands of angry fathers. The Taliban, suffering a bit from poor PR at the moment, denied all responsibility for the attacks.



A typical elementary school in a poorer neighborhood.


Always curious kids swarm around the strange visitors.


School officials and children pose with a British visitor.
All the NATO forces do this sort of good will visit.


Teacher overcome with emotion as kids get new notebooks.


Posing with their new "Gringo" friend.
We jokingly refer to all Westerners as "Gringos."
Guns are nothing new with these kids.
Their fathers probably have AK's at home.
They were more amazed with his communication system.


Warm welcome to a girl's classroom.
Note the lack of desks. Nor is there electricity.
The only light is what comes through the window.


Girls getting new notebooks from a friendly Brit.
This room was large enough that two classes occupied the same space.


This room was roughly 15x12 and held 35 girls plus the teacher.


Passing out backpacks.


Headmaster accepting some teaching supplies.
An Afghan Major does the honors.


A BIG supply of colored chalk.


Posing with new backpacks.



16 comments:

Sunny said...

I didn't realise that the army bestows charity along with maintaining security.

So the kids were more amazed with the communication system, good of them. Fine means of communication are very important.

momcat said...

Its amazing how small things like backpacks and school supplies mean so much. Our kids with their fully equipped classrooms hate going to school and learning.

Vodka Mom said...

omg. That is incredible! It really makes me appreciate all the "extras" we have in our school. We are TOO spoiled.

I feel so bad for those kids, and the teachers. Thanks SO much for the "tour". As always, be safe....

Ello said...

This post made me sad. I can't believe how poor their schools are. WE are so very lucky here in the states. Those poor girls. I am so proud of them for their commitment to education. And good for their fathers allowing it! Maybe when more women are educated in these poor areas, things might start changing.

Vodka Mom said...

I'm sending people over today. I hope they come and experience your incredible post.

xoxox

Charles Gramlich said...

I love the pics of the new backpacks. That's so cool. I'm glad the crowd "roughed up" that group of assholes who threw the acid. It would be best if the father's killed them all.

Joanie6726 said...

Hi. Vodka Mom sent me here. :) Your stories are incredible! Thanks for all you're doing! My prayers for your continued safety.
My nephew is a blackhawk pilot with the 82nd Airborne, who recently came home from Afghanistan. He was involved in Operation Dustbowl (he flew medi-vac ops)

Joanie said...

Thank you so much for helping our Afghani neighbors and for all your sacrifices.

Happy Holidays!

Da Goddess
dagoddess.com

(via Vodka Mom)

Barbara Martin said...

These wonderful acts of charity from the army will certainly help with relations. Thank you for showing the school rooms, and the children who are always curious no matter where they live.

Simplicity said...

Oh my goodness. My heart is breaking for those poor little children. My daughter was complaining recently about how the backpacks she has are uncool. I will send her over to read this post...

The Muse said...

Education is so valuable. I love to see how it is appreciated. You're doing such a great job giving us a window to the truth. Perhaps the future schools there will be more user friendly and afford the kids more of their needs to strive.

Merry Christmas J.L!

Take care.

Pienovski said...

Came over through Simplicity. I am stunned and my heart is breaking... 6 million children. So little things make them happy...

Your photos are amazing!

Real Live Lesbian said...

How wonderful. Thanks for sharing that with us. It's my first time here via Vodka Mom...but I'll certainly be back. Great blog!

Ello said...

Happy holidays and have a wonderful new year!

Peace,

E

J. L. Krueger said...

Sunny,
Yep, our charitable works are not newsworthy, so you rarely hear about it. The media likes ugly.

momcat,
It is amazing. It takes little to make a big difference.

Vodka Mom,
We always wish we could do more. Thanks for sending me more visitors.

Ello,
It will take about a generation, maybe a little longer. This country has been in a perpetual state of war for about 30 years.

Charles,
Yeah I'm not at all averse to "eye-for-eye" retribution. It sends an unambiguous message about what is not to be tolerated.

Joanie,
We LOVE those MEDIVAC guys. The Afghans appreciate them too. They often fly in conditions no other pilot will risk.

Joanie DaGoddess,
Thanks and come back again.

Barbara,
Most of our guys recognize the importance of these little trips. We are shaping the next generation of Afghans.

Simplicity,
It's hard to appreciate what we have when it comes easy. Kids in the West grow up thinking that nice things are a "right."

Muse!
Merry Christmas to you too! Been missing your posts!

Pienovski,
Thanks for comming by and please do again. I'll be here for at least another seven months, probably ten, so I'll have lots more to show everyone.

Real Live,
Thanks, I love to show the "other side" of Afghanistan that most never see or hear about.

Ello!
Ditto to you too! I'm sure those three munchkins of yours will keep you busy!

Deb said...

Hi, I'm visiting from Wentworth Miller but will be back often. It is great to see good news from that region - good to see the positive. We take a lot for granted, indeed.