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Springtime in Kabul – April 2006 April 13, 2006

Posted by Linda Barnes in Uncategorized.

 Kabul River.jpg

Back in Kabul delighting in this brief seasonal interlude between the searing winter and the equally searing summer weather. There is a peach-fuzz-like shimmer of green over the usually dusty brown terrain. I am amazed at the Afghan capacity to nurture flowers (and food) from terrain that is essentially rubble and dust. The usually dry Kabul River is lined with saplings and potted plants for sale. The river itself has some water in it, but a far cry from old photos in which it is a beautiful and flowing river; the river appears to be a lake of plastic bottles and bags and looks pretty toxic. The surrounding mountains are gradually losing the shimmer of snow. I planted my nasturtium and morning glory seeds at our compound; the gardener, delighted with new seeds, assured me he will watch them closely.

So, what’s new on the hospital front. Every time I return there is perceptible change. The hallways and wards are cleaner than before; the new paint (not just white wash, but a thick smelly permanent, washable oil base) offers bright whiteness and convey a sense of a higher standard of care.  Case reports follow a sensible format in the morning meetings of the consultant staff and patient management is improving.  I am always delighted to see the staff; they are always so welcoming.  The hospital has at least a dozen new midwives freshly graduated from the midwifery training at the Institute of Health Science in Kabul.  Both the nursing staff and the midwife staff have bright blue scrubs under their white coats.   

In Kabul there is intense interest in the parliamentary proceedings confirming and challenging the ministerial appointees. There is obvious pride in this process…a sense of “democracy” with local ownership.

I am gratified the “Christian” was escorted to Italy. I follow the proceedings of the Afghan teenager, Khadr, who allegedly at the age of 15 hurled a grenade that killed an American. The conditions of his incarceration at Guantanamo are at issue. I hope this case will stay under the general “demonstration radar” as demonstrations inevitably disrupt our travel to and from work.

The Afghanistan Midwives Association congress is set for early May and there will be a general celebration on International Midwives Day on May 4th. With the new membership dues and sponsorships from the US there are 10 new international members and moneyTakhft Stalaf April 06.jpg to sponsor 30 Afghan midwives for annual membership in the association.

This past week we had a govt. holiday and a dozen of us (including guards, cleaners, drivers) took off for a Afghan picnic and beheld the true beauty of Afghanistan where, despite 25 years of war and 12 years of severe drought, the land, as the people, come back!



1. Jono - April 17, 2006

It sounds like things are going well on this trip. I would love to see any before and after pictures of the hospital conditions if you have a chance to post them.

2. Tony Barr - April 23, 2006

How much is a membership in the midwives association and where would one send a contribution? Keep up the good work.

3. anaj - March 28, 2007

Don’t stop blogging about this, please. I’ve created a little minimalist End Guantanamo logo, feel free to use and circulate it, if you like. Best wishes from Austria.


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