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.