19/11 08:3819/11 08:38
Loreen has landed
The car barley fits on the road between the houses in the village Yaskin Bala. There are a few people out. But when we arrive at the open place by mosque the whole village stands there. How long have they been standing there, I don’t know, but it is an impressing lineup to welcome Loreen, the Swedish pop star.
There we have the village council with the oldest village member and all the other men, women and children. Everyone are gathered. Even the police chief in the district has come up to the village and with him he has 3-4 local armed policemen, which are “in charge of security”.
It feels both disappointing and impressing. Loreen would have wanted to arrive to the village in a more natural way. But this is how you do it in Afghanistan: The guess will be welcomed in a dignified way.
Loreen visit the village Yaskin Bala after the start of the collaborate with the Swedish Afghanistan committee. She will be like a ambassador for “SAK” in Sweden and make both the organization and Afghanistan more known. It is above all education for women she fights for. Therefore the school in Yaskin Bala will be visited.
We have been going a long distance in the beauteous and dramatic Warsaj valley. The mountains rise high on both sides of the wide and cool river. Beside the river the road follows it.
It started in Kabul. Loreen came to our compound and met representatives of SAK Sweden. She was extremely curious in the country and everything that got to do with SAK Sweden. During a dinner with SAK’s chief of education, Aminulhaq Mayel, the questions never stopped. Loreen wanted to know everything.
In Yaskin Bala we met the village’s council and the representatives for both men and women. Everyone were unequivocal about the village need: first and foremost they wanted a new school building. And then opportunity to make a living. The unemployment is big and many youngster go to Iran to work. We talk a bit pompous for a while. But the atmosphere becomes considerably lighter when the police chief goes home.
Then we got to split up. Me, The photographer Charli and Sanjar from our office in Taloqan will live in the village’s “gathering building”. Loreen and Katarina from SAK’s office in Stockholm have to go with the women to another building.
It becomes empty and quiet when the girl disappears. The dinner is excellent, but otherwise the place isn’t exactly lively. A few men comes and goes. We talk and ask questions with the help of Sanjar. Suddenly a man comes with the music instrument Damboora an the tension breaks a bit. Two youngsters dances a bit. Then the electricity is turned of and sleep is the only thing left to do.
The day after Loreen and Katarina talks about what a high atmosphere there had been with he women. Discussions had apparently gone high and there had been dancing in signing far into the night. All the women of the village had been there. A real party…
I the next edition of Afghanistan-New you can read about Katarina Hellström’s report from Loreen’s visit in Yaskin Bala and about her meeting with the village’s women!
The existing school will be visited now. I almost loose my breath when the gates opens…
Inside all the students and teacher are standing with placards and plastic flower garlands. The children have coloured the placards with many colours and imaginary greetings to Loreen.
Loreen takes her time to visit the four classrooms. She listens and asks many questions to both the teachers and the students. Wants to know more about what is said on the board. The existing school is located in an ordinary building, which isn’t suitable. When the children becomes bigger they have to go a long and and dangerous road to another school, because this one does not cover them all. But they are still quite little.
We take a walk down to an yard at the edge of the village.
”Here the school will be located!” The oldest of the village points out the place and says that the land has been given to them by a private family to make room for a bigger school. Now it is about starting to build and of course the hope is put on the Swedish Afghanistan committee. Loreen says that she wants to come back and follow the construction - if and when the project starts.
On the way back Loreen visits a Model School for girls. Speeches are made and the fuss is big. Even here Loreen takes her time and wants to see as much as possible. After strong pressure from the girls, Loreen finally agree to sign a bit. In a crowded classroom - and with many students from the outside hanging on the windows - Loreen sings a song and the joy seams to be total for the girls. ”Imagine that a famous international artist came and sang for us…”
The trip home was adventurous. We must change plans since there had been attacks and fights along side the road leading to Kunduz, where we would take out plane home. Instead we have to go to Faizabad, where we went by an UN-flight. But Loreen seams to take it all in with calmness. The day after she will go home to Sweden and thereafter straight to Helsinki for a concert. But before departure from Kabul she has time to be interviewed for ”Korrespondenterna” on SVT.
After a time after Loreen’s visit good news come: SAK has decided to build a new in Yaskin Bala. The construction should start in the spring next year.
And we are looking forward to Loreen’s next visit.