Kabul’s world and fame at last

10 12 2009

2m model of the world sat high on one of Kabul's many useless roundabouts. Vehicles see these as more of an obstacle than an advantage. Cyclists ride against the traffic and right of way is given to the cars travelling fastest.

The picture is of a structure on one of the many token roundabouts in Kabul. On top is a 2 metre globe although about a year ago it was destroyed by an RPG. The symbolism of seeing Afghanistan rebuilding the world was a good taste of irony in an unorthodox city like Kabul.

In terms of rebuilding we’re doing well although only careful planning will ensure we get the best out of the next four months. Already the snow that previously only stuck to the mountains is now falling in Kabul and settles on the lower hills surrounding the city. Down in the old town, without proper drains or paving, much of the site is becoming a quagmire. Along with the stench of summer sewage and rubbish this is a time of year when we realise the importance of the benefits we will have brought to Murad Khane when we leave in 18 months time.

I’m featured on the BBC website thanks to a friend of mine, Mike Millar. A ‘day in the life of’ compacts a few of the more interesting moments from the past 6 months into 12 hours. Just a bit of fun but it’s been good to see my daily life in ‘print’. It’s anonymous both for security and political reasons. Broadcasting that despite our best efforts security can never be guaranteed is not going to make the donors and trustees happy.

A colleague is recycling our old water bottles into wall insulation in a low-cost housing project for refugees.

Nonetheless I’m quite content to tell the alternative story to the security frenzy of the security/military side of life that usually makes the front page. On that note have a look at USA Today show’s video article on what we’re doing here. My Jewellery School site is the first one briefly shown in the video. For a view on the alternative side to the impact international organisations are having on Afghanistan have a look at this  commentary on the offset problems caused by too much money and consultants and not enough local knowledge. Some of the points that amount to admissions of failure put into perspective the scale of US money and war effort before Obama sends his next 30,000 troops out here.

Duncan DJ