Happy Sunday to everyone! And while all of you in Italy are celebrating Mother’s Day (by the way … happy Mother’s Day to all of you Wonderful Women!) the Team is still wondering around Kabul. First stop: the mine museum, which only in a country like Afghanistan could have been possibly born!
Set up in 1994 and managed by the OMAR (Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation) this is “not just” a cemetery for explosives and military aircraft, but also an education and training center for the deactivation of mines and other unexploded devices.
The museum exhibits – with careful detail – about more than sixty types of explosive devices still present throughout the country: landmines, from the smallest to the biggest like tray dishes used for blasting vehicles and manufactured by all countries in the world but Afghanistan. The worst are the Russian ones, the so called “butterfly”, often picked up by children because they look like plastic toys. “Promenading” inside this center it takes you closer to the horror of these “over thirty years” of war. Fortunately, there are organizations like this one which, although not benefiting from any support coming from the government, be it either financial as well as organizational, they act to revitalize the country and primarily, to avoid more victims of war or disabled veterans.
After visiting the mine museum, we go visit, almost like a natural consequence, an NGO the (ALSO) which aim is the re-education, rehabilitation, and re-introduction into society of war victims. We find Nassem, who oversees the association and tells us how the project was born (it’s been operating since 2007) and how it works. The major efforts are certainly the psychological re-education of mutilated of wars (many of them think that their life is over and are prone to suicide) and on the creation (with the government’s help) of public buildings proper to their need (schools, universities, offices). We can even manage to talk to a direct witness, Mohammed, mutilated since he was 29 and who is now an employee of the organization. He remembers how useless and hopeless he felt at the time of the event: he had a wife and a job, but couldn’t manage to see the light. Now, he sees ALSO as a new family whom he owes his rebirth because it saved him from the darkness of depression, and which gave him the opportunity of living without a limb and giving him a job which totally satisfies him. Testimonials which make you think: a light for this martyred population may really exist.
On the road again on our van, we go back to the hotel… or at least… we try: on the way one of the engines conks out, and as Afghans would do, we squeezed 8 people into one normal car! This is Overland too!
Quick lunch today! No time for a picnic! Bureaucracy is taking too long for our Pakistan visas, so we decided not to wait any longer and travel directly to Iran. The land route from Kabul to Herat is rather unsafe, especially with our vehicles which do not go completely unnoticed… but we found a way out. Tomorrow, while our Team will be taking a flight, our vehicles will be travelling by land, “hidden” inside big lorries and concealed under potato chips bags to evade controls.
Therefore, in the early afternoon, we take our vehicles to the courtyard of a Kabul’s transport company and we load them two by two on the big trucks ready to leave in the night. We say goodbye to Camilla, Furia, Beta and Tony…hoping to see them soon without any damages.
Tomorrow we will be leaving, at last!