Posted on July 31, 2010
I thought I would include this shot taken in France while I was traveling with a colleague for work to let you all know that Afghanistan is not the only place I travel. That said I will be returning Monday to Afghanistan for a month.
I have been writing lately of our efforts to build a well in Mir Taqi Shah, a village south of Kabul. Now that it is up and operational [see previous blog entry] I will be in the village with Fahima Vorgetts (Afghan Women’s Fund) in late August to see first hand the effects of this project. I will have the privilege and honor of visiting some of Fahima’s other projects around Kabul.
Traveling half way around the world I wanted to have a bit more time in Afghanistan so I contacted my long time friends Tom and Libby Little who have been working in Afghanistan for the past 30 years (National Organization of Ophthalmic Rehabilitation – see previous entries and photo galleries). Before I heard back from Tom and the day before my birthday I received an amazing offer from Diana Tacey, executive director of ChildLight Foundation for Afghan Children www.childlightfoundation.org. I have never met Diana however we have corresponded and talked on the phone. We discovered we are kindred spirits who care deeply for the Afghan people wanting to lend a hand assisting them as they work to recover from years of continuing war which has thrust them in to and keep them in poverty in many places across the country. She invited me to travel with her in the beginning of August visiting women’s prisons around the country.
I will be adding to this blog from on the road when it is possible to do so. If you would like to follow our travels please click the “About Connie” in the tool bar at the top of this page, scroll to the bottom and check the box “subscribe by email to this post”. I do hope that many of you will join me on this journey.
In gratitude for your love and supporrt,
Posted on July 30, 2010
The exciting news is that the well was built in Mir Taqi Shah in June in time for the planting season. Fahima Vorgetts, from Women for Afghan Women and the Afghan Women’s Fund wrote in her most recent Newsletter of her experiences in June.
“In Mir Taqi Shah we dug a well for irrigation and clean water with the help and sponsorship of Women against War in Albany, New York. The AWF and villagers are most grateful to this organization. A donated generator will pump the well water.”
Fahima continues, “We also built three fiberglass dome buildings to use as a school. the domes measure 19 feet by 19 feet and will accommodate 30 students. We provided school supplies for 150 girls and over 50 women. The domes will be the first girls’ school of this village. The women are eager to form their own shora but for now they are coming to literacy classes. The domes will also accommodate the new shora.”
Woman against the War continues to raise funds for Mir Taqi Shah and will be hosting several events in October. The funds will be used to continue the women’s literacy program as well as begin a women’s shora or coop to help them develop economically meeting their request. Watch for information concerning these events in future entries.
In gratitude for all your support,
Posted on March 1, 2010
Women Against War is bringing back Fahima Vorgetts to speak at more Capital District locations. Please come hear Fahima talk about the impact of the US military occupation and her development work in Afghanistan – including the Afghan Well Project to bring clean drinking water & irrigation to the village of Mir Taqi Shah, for which Women Against War is raising the needed $10,000.
All events free and open to the public.
Opportunities to donate to the Afghan Well Project, postcards for Congress & literature will be available.
Women Against War sponsors:
Fahima Vorgetts of Women for Afghan Women Speaking with Slides
Sunday, March 7, 2010
12:30-1:15 PM Afghanistan’s Heartbreak,
Afghanistan’s Hope. Islamic Center of the
Capital District, 21 Lansing Rd, Schenectady.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
12:50-1:45 PM Afghanistan’s Heartbreak,
Afghanistan’s Hope. Pizza & Politics series.
Union College, Social Science104.
7:00 PM Mercy Center, 310 So. Manning Blvd.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 7:30 PM.
The Plight of Women in the Afghan War.
University at Albany, Humanities, Rm. 137.
Co-sponsored by Women’s Studies/IRO, UUP & Women Against War.
Fahima Vorgetts, an Afghan-American from Maryland, fled Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. Fahima has dedicated her life’s work to improving the conditions of women in her native country. She spent May 2009 in Afghanistan, where she travels several times each year.
Fahima has been involved in other well projects, opening new schools for girls and literacy classes for women, creating income-generating projects for widows, and arranging for the shipment of medical and school supplies and clothing to refugees.
Fahima has addressed the United Nations and traveled widely speaking at university conferences and religious organizations, appeared on many television and radio programs, including the BBC and NPR and been featured in articles in the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post.
Fahima is the winner of several awards from peace and human rights organizations. She is an inspiring, charismatic speaker who possesses wisdom on the realities in Afghanistan and recommendations on how the US should and should not be involved.
For information: Info@WomenAgainstWar.org 518-426-0710
Posted on January 3, 2010
My first exhibition of images from the September/October 2009 journey to Afghanistan is currently at Mango Tree Imports, 2124A Rt 50, Ballston Spa, New York #518-884-4652 until January 31st. There will be a special event January 8th, 2010.
Here are two of the images that are featured in the exhibit. The first is a panoramic taken from the roof of the house of an Afghan family who introduced us to a variety of Afghan public officials.
One of the most moving interviews we had was with Dr. Soraya Sobhrang, Commissioner for Women’s Rights of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. She is an OBGYN who fled Afghanistan during the Taliban rule. She has chosen to return to Afghanistan to help her native people, particularly women, at tremendous risk for her own safety. She has received death threats because of her activities.
To learn more of my current conditions in Afghanistan and my experiences please contact me to speak to your group or to present an exhibition of my images.
I also am very honored to have received and honorable mention for my submission for the members show at the Albany Center Gallery juried by Tammas Groft, Deputy Director of Collecti0ns and Exhibitions of the Albany Institute of History and Art. The photograph is one of my first attempts at High Dynamic Range Photography. Believe it or not it is of a friends compound in Kabul, Afghanistan. When I learn how to convert this type of image to a format that I can up load I will include it here.
Posted on December 25, 2009
One of or members wanted to buy musical instruments for her daughter so Asad and Noorai, our Afghan friends who Jodie from CodePink knew from their time in the Bay area, took her to the musicians street. One man who made rebab’s payed for us. The high light was the “older” gentleman of approximately 40 years started to sing a Pushtu song of the love of Afghanistan. Having lived in Kabul all his life in a family that followed the musical tradition of father and mother teaching their children who then carried the information to the next generation. During the Taliban time they buried their instruments in the ground in the basement of their house. If they had been discovered they would have been severely beaten or killed. We all felt his love and our hearts melted as we too found a peaceful, joyous, beautiful county from the tone and tenor of his song.
Media Benjamin and Jodie Evans stand on either side of to very brave and courageous women who spoke of the shia family law and the protest they arranged to get the law changed. Telling of how empowered – as well as terrified – they felt as 200 to 250 brave women faced off hundreds of very angry men and women. They continue their work knowing that they have the support of many and the revolution once again is beginning.
Posted on December 25, 2009
Posted on December 25, 2009
We keep busy almost every minute with meetings of all types. One of the highlights a couple of days ago was listening to Soraya director of women’s rights in the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. She was extremely energetic with a sparkle in her eye. She spoke of the work they did to protest and successfully change the Siai (forgive my incorrect spelling) family law. She invited us to attend a women’s conference Afghanistan – India – Pakistan Trialogue for Peace that just happens to be while we are here. So yesterday we attended the opening and met with many different people during a tea break and lunch. The day before yesterday we visited Shinkai Zahine Karokhail, a member of the Afghan National Assembly, in her home experiencing her dedication to women using her position to prevent unjust laws from passing for women and to create a better position for women. It surprises me just how much access we have had to these people. Must get to breakfast to give me energy for the days activities.