PARSA Journal: Colin

Colin Hume took his first visit to Kabul in 2007. The below journals are his personal account of his time in Afghanistan.

Colin (1)

Journal: April 28, 2007 – Into Afghanistan Wow, I’m here! I was picked up yesterday afternoon from the wonderful Kabul airport by mom and Norm after 40 hours of some of the most grueling air travel I’ve ever experienced.

Journal: April 30, 2007 – My Day with Heroes The past two days have been a great introduction to the work that my mom really does here. Having grown up with my mother’s work surrounding me, I learned to insulate myself from the depressing details of her world. From the work that she used to do with youth at risk and welfare women, to homeless and mentally ill; I think I actually became habituated to the myriad of problems that people face. There’s always been someone that needs her help more than I do….

Afghanistan journal May 2-07- – Marastoon A Country of Twenty-Five-Million Kings- Yesterday was fairly uneventful. In the morning mom and I went to PARSA to finalize the plans for their grand opening of the new building in the Marastoon compound. Though many Americans would not understand the significance of the typeof organization my mother has created, I am truly impressed. Though there are a couple of international workers, it is primarily an Afghan-run organization.

Afghan Journal May 4, 2007 – To Bamian I’m sitting here, in a traditional mud built compound, our home for the next week, with my laptop playing hip-hop for entertainment, wearing a traditional “shalwar qamise” and sunglasses. Though I am a khereji (foreigner), this illustrates the contradictions found in a country trying to develop out of medieval times into the modern world.

Journal: May 5, 2007 – The Red City Today we set the painters up with enough work for the day and went out to explore. We drove 45 minutes toan ancient and abandoned fortress built in the 6th century AD by the Shansabani kings. This is an abandoned refuge from invaders. It is located on an isolated outcropping of rock, maybe 800 feet above the river valley of Bamian.

Afghan journal 5-6-07 Bandiamir “Wonders” in AfghanistanToday we packed up the van and headed out to Bandiamir lakes. The road out of Bamian heads generally west and is not in very good shape. It took a little over 3 hours to drive to the lakes and it was a really rough ride, on both people and car. First we passed through a system of canyons, following a small fast flowing river. There were small farms on any land that was relatively flat and could have water run to it. I’m constantly amazed at where Afghans can get water to run.

Afghan Journal 5-9-07 the Golden Valley-JowZareen Finding Gold in Afghanistan -Today was one of the best days I’ve spent here so far certainly a highlight of the trip. It started with our visit to the giant Buddha’s that we’ve looked at from a distance the past week, but haven’t had the chance to explore.

Afghan journal 5-13-07 -Trip to Panjsher Mabouba her driver Nisar, mom and I traveled up to Pansher Province today. Mom and Mahbouba are completing their survey work for Equal Access Radio. A program was developed a year and a half ago to provide civil rights workshops for primarily women in several provinces, both by radio and in person. The two of them would go into the communities and evaluate the effectiveness of these workshops as well as access to the radio transmissions.

Afghan journal- Day 2 in Panjsher Today we woke up to Mahbouba shrieking “what a beautiful day, oh I love this place so much” at 5:30 in the morning. I had slept quite terribly the previous night and though tired, was looking forward to the coming day.

Journal: May 15, 2007 – The Orphanage Yesterday’s big adventure was a visit to the Allahoudin orphanage in Kabul. This is the orphanage that the staff of PARSA has been working with for the past eight months. It is because of the conditions found here that we had ameeting earlier with the deputy minister in charge of Martyrs and Social Affairs, along with several other international NGOs in the first week of my trip.

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