Sunday, December 09, 2007

Fwd: former Peace Corps language trainer

Dear Friends of Afghanistan,

I'm working for USAID in Afghanistan, and I have been working with a man who was once a language trainer for Peace Corps/Afghanistan. I believe he worked for Peace Corps in the late 60s or early 70s. His name is Abdul Baqi. If any of the members of this organization know Mr. Baqi and would like to contact him, I can facilitate that.

Eric Bone
RPCV Malawi 1995-97

Terry Dougherty

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fwd: An Evening with Khaled Hosseini

An Evening with Khaled Hosseini
Author of "The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns"

    "An Evening with Khaled Hosseini" will be held January 18, 2008 at the Lesher Theater in Walnut Creek, between 7:30 and 9 pm.  This is a benefit for Trust In Education. Khaled will be interviewed by Lynn Carey(Book Club Goddess of the Contra Costa Times), and me, Budd MacKenzie, in what the theater describes as "an Oprah setting". By then "The Kite Runner" movie will have opened and you will have read both of his books, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  It will be a very informative, informal and relaxed evening.
Tickets will go on sale for the general public the first week of December.
   As TIE supporters you can order tickets NOW before they are offered to the public. This is one reward for those who have taken a proactive role in supporting Afghanistan.

Where & When
Lesher Theater
1601 Civic Drive
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
January 18th 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Map to Lesher Theater
For further infomation call us @ 925-283-8057

There are two seating choices:

A.  Reserved Seating ---  $50

B.  Preferred Seating  --- $100   This ticket includes a wine and appetizer reception with Khaled Hosseini between 6 and 7 pm . Susan Foord Catering will provide the hors d'oeuvres and I'll bring the Dots. THESE TICKETS ARE LIMITED!!!  DON'T PROCRASTINATE!!!        


1.    Send a check for the number of tickets requested. Be certain to include your name, address, and telephone numbers (Daytime and Evening). Mail your request to
Trust In Education, P.O.Box 936, Lafayette, CA 94549.

2.    Email or fax us (925- 283-1134) with the following information;

You can print out this page for your convenience(works best with Internet Explorer)

  A.    Name                                                                                                
  B.    Mailing Address (tickets will be mailed to this address)
  C.    Telephone Numbers (Daytime and Evening).                                              

  D.    Email address                                                                                      

  E.    Visa or Mastercard Number                                                                    

  F.    Date of Expiration                                                                                

  G.    Billing Address (if different than you mailing address
H.    Number of Reserved and Preferred Seating tickets requested.                        

I.     Total amount charged to your account                                                   

3.    Call ahead and come to our office at 985 Moraga Road Suite # 214 in Lafayette.  Telephone number 925 283-8057. Tickets can be purchased between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

   Finally, if you have any questions that you would like us to ask Khaled on the 18th, send us an email at



Trust In Education
PO Box 936
Lafayette, California 94549

Fwd: Well, I think it's interesting...

Dear Connections,
I work for the Institute for Training and Development in Amherst MA,
which has a subcontract with the University of Massachusetts' Center
for International Education, which has a multi-year contract with
USAID to improve higher education in Afghanistan. A group of 20
administrators from teacher training colleges came to the US for a
study program, and I worked with them very briefly.

Most of them did not speak English and my Dari is awful, but I did
talk with several of the participants who spoke English. I mentioned
my connection with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in the late 1960s,
and one of them who lives in Mazar-y-Sharif told me that Miss Pam had
taught him English back then. Another chimed in with his memories of
his English teacher Miss Alice, but I don't know where he is from.

This is 40 plus years hence - imagine! Good job, Pam and Alice,
whereever you are, and to everyone else - you did make a difference.

Kristina Engstrom

Friday, November 02, 2007


My thanks to Auke Idzenga for this post!

From Mid September to Mid October (2007) the Philippine NGO called AID Foundation set up three ram pump installations in the 'Kunduz River Basin Programme' in Northern Afghanistan. This project was contracted by Mercy Corps which already has a long time presence in Afghanistan and is carrying out this long term program with EU funds.

Afghanistan is known to most of us by the terms: Russian Invasion, high mountains, agriculture (fruits, nuts, animals), friendly and proud people, long drought and of course the Taliban. A deeper look into the country will reveal much more. The scenery is unbelievable beautiful but also a very great reason for concern. Most agricultural lands are rain fed and when not cultivated look like a desert. The soil is still very fertile (mostly silty clay loam) but 80% of lands is subject to land erosion and this is very visible. The last two decades 70% of its forest got lost and right now people uproot bushes for cooking and heating and the many animals grazing the hills do the rest. According to the statistics only 2% of its forests are left. The water tables are dropping fast and many people rely on surface water for drinking.

Countering these problems look like an uphill battle especially considering that development activities in that direction have to be carried out in an uncertain security situation.

Paul Smith, the manager of the Catchment Development Program of Mercy Corps, had set up field offices, hired engineers and agriculturists, set up nurseries but was faced with the problem of having water in the rivers but not on the hills (which are his target for planting trees). Looking for a solution Paul remembered the hydraulic ram pump for a brochure given to him by his brother 30 years ago. The ram pump is a device which is water powered and which automatically pushes up a portion of the water flowing through it to very high elevations 24 hours a day and with hardly any maintenance cost. Paul started searching and got attracted to the ram pump of AID Foundation because of its combination of durability and the local availability of spare parts. Other suppliers dropped off the list because they were too
expensive, not repairable locally or they didn't want to come to Afghanistan to do installation and technology transfer.

A contract was signed for three installations and training of the local farmers who will be using the ram for irrigating their hills for the growing of fruits (apricot and apple) and nuts (almond, walnut and pistachio). Under difficult circumstances like availability of materials, ongoing Ramadan, a lot of travel time and security problems Auke Idzenga and Felix Inocencio (technical people from AID) were still able to make the three systems work and train the beneficiaries in repair and maintenance and the Mercy Corps staff in general in the technology.

The installations itself all produce more water than was agreed and expected. On the highest site, the water is pushed up to 145 meters in a volume of 5,200 liters per day. More than enough to water the planned trees on the five hectares land.

Paul and AID have discussed a continuation of the technology for Afghanistan since there are tremendous potentials for the ram. One idea is to have a technical person from Afghanistan come over for a longer period to the Philippines and train him in all facets of the installation, operation, repair and maintenance of the ram pump. This followed by a combination of sending ram bodies from AID Foundation over and fabrication locally of the pressure chambers in Afghanistan. On the long term the idea is to totally transfer the manufacturing to an entrepreneur in Afghanistan.

But the big question is: will it not be overtaken by the increased security problems. Let's hope not.

An Afghan farmer with one of the three pumps

Technology Transfer to beneficiary

The first water flowing from the pipe

Uncultivated hills but water down

Without rain it looks like a desert

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fwd: News from Kabul / Trust In Education


Raymond and I will not visit the village this trip because the majority of the villagers have decided enough is enough. Lalander has been governed by three Maliks (leaders) with whom the villagers have become dissatisfied. One Malik has resisted the effort to educate girls, effectively limiting the number who have been able to attend school. All are accused of "putting money in their pockets". When NGOs (non government organizations) go to villages to provide assistance, they invariably end up working with the designated leaders, known as Maliks. Skimming money off the top or not completing work for which the Maliks have received advances is "pocket money". Favoring their relatives with the contracts and money they receive is common. All of these activities are listed under the heading of "Corruption". Trust In Education has worked directly with the villagers and Afghannedin, the leader of the Shura (village council). The Maliks have always been consulted but the money has purposely not flowed through their hands. The creation of a Shura within Lalander was a recommendation we made a year and a half ago, to allow for more participation in the decision making process and to promote transparency. The villagers have asked the District governor to appoint one Malik and, not surprisingly, they overwhelmingly support Afghannedin. By his detractors he is viewed as "our guy". Raymond and I arrived in the middle of what was described as an election process but in actuality was a day set aside to air grievances and to support candidates. Villagers whose homes in Lalander are destroyed and who are now living in Kabul, took taxis and buses to vote. Lalander is almost an hour and a half ride from Kabul. The District Governor has now taken the matter under advisement. We had dinner at his house two nights ago. He plans to proceed slowly and carefully. He's been governor for 50 days and recognizes there is significant house cleaning to be done in the entire district. Finding leaders who won't "put money in their pocket" is not easy. Afghanistan is the fifth poorest country in the world and the overwhelming majority of its people are operating in the survival mode. Maslow was right about the "hierarchy of needs theory." Food, clothing and shelter come first. The positive news is that the end result will be the creation of a village government that is open and trusted by the villagers. There have been no threats to anyone, including Raymond and I. But, the tension between the camps is high. On their recommendation we have decided to remain in Kabul.

Educating Girls -- One Class at a Time The classes offered for girls inside homes are going extremely well. One location will triple is program from 36 students to over 125. I will visit another potential location today. We're able to add more classes thanks to you. The incremental cost of adding classes is less than $150 a month. The number of girls who are not able to attend government schools is staggering, even inside Kabul. It's not just a capacity problem. There are parents who simply will not allow their daughters to attend classes, unless they are taught in neighborhood homes. For some it's a security issue. Others, just don't see the value of educating girls. Peer pressure forces them to allow their daughters to attend classes offered in their neighborhoods. It's difficult to hold your daughter back when she watches her friends head off to a "safe" school.

Sowing Seeds Tomorrow morning we will be distributing seeds and fertilizer to 70 farmers in the Char Asiab district (population 70,000) I was able to meet with the Afghan minister of Agriculture (big boss). We had a very productive 17 minutes. He assigned someone in his ministry to provide us with whatever technical expertise they have to provide training for the farmers. The first training class will be given tomorrow when the seeds and fertilizer are distributed. Last year's tomato and onion seed planting experiment proved convincingly that the farmers are generating yields way below their capacities. What they need is better seeds, fertilizer and once again the big E, Education. Anyone have a few thousand pounds of fertilizer lying around? By the way American fertilizer is "the best", so we're "buying American".

ART -- THE FUN CLASS!!!!!! I visited the art class and encountered 40 extremely happy and active children. I was shocked to discover that there were boys and girls in the class. The art class is the only class in the entire district which boys and girls are allowed to attend. According to the teacher the boys "fight too much, make too much noise, and the girls are nice." I told her about the debate being waged in some American schools regarding whether girls should be educated separately from boys. She smiled and gave the knowing nod.

The War for Hearts and Minds All in all the programs are progressing very well. We're different than anything the villagers have ever experienced. We're grass roots, we keep coming back, and we work with them to identify and establish priorities. We're also very effective in minimizing the "pocket problem". In short, Trust in Education has gained the trust of the people. I've often thought that perhaps the better name for our organization would be "Trust And Education". Both are essential elements in bringing about change. Our only shortcoming in their eyes is our inability to work in other areas. We're starting to explore moving some programs down the road. Your generosity has made that possible. There's "miles to go"... but, not until I return home and have a few cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and fries. I function under the hierarchy of needs theory myself. The first need in the hierarchy is FOOD!

Budd MacKenzie Trust In Education

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"16 Days in Afghanistan" release is almost here!

On 10/8/07, Gmail <> wrote:

Dear friends; Hope all are well. Here is the good news. The 16 days in Afghanistan is only days away to head your way. My producer Mr. Methaq Kazimi and I are wondering to what extend you could help. Here is what we need to know in order to measure our financial built:

  1. How many shows we should prepare for, while visiting you?
  2. Are you considering; the Afghan community, the Churches, high schools, universities and civic organizations?
  3. How many tickets "approximately", we might be able to sell?
  4. When might be a good time to visit you?
  5. How much you think a ticket should cost?
  6. Do you think we should also seek donation?

As you are aware 50% profit is going to my village in Lugar to build a school or schools. My village of eighteen hundred people don't have a single school. Neither for boys nor for girls. Please help us with any promotional ideas.

Mohammad Hajher,

Sunday, October 07, 2007

memories of Afghanistan


Forty years exiled from our picnics
in the King's Gardens—
from watching Chinese fireworks
on Now Roz, and eating
crème cakes at the Spinzar.
Exiled from a Kabul sky
curved and blue as a fired mosque tile
or lapis pulled from the hills,
I miss the noonday cannon
booming over a crenellated wall,
and sandaled boys raising a fine dust,
running to keep their kites aloft.
I am a stranger to the Paghmon road,
to tiny lamb kabobs from the tea house and
from cold, mountain streams. In exile still
from the smell of embroidered sheepskin, wet
with Himalayan snow and from Istallif, famous
for carved chests, all these unknown to me now.
I remember bright rugs hung out for sale, silver
poplars edging the river, marking off farmers' fields
and in my sleep, I hear braying donkeys and gaudies'
brass bells, their red wheels, plumed harnesses
jangling down the tree lined Dar-el-aman.

Susannah W. Simpson/Nimrod International Journal /2007

Susannah W. Simpson's poem "In Exile" was published in the Nimrod
International Journal of Prose and Poetry.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Doc on Courageous Afghani MP, Malalai Joya, to Air on PBS, Sept 11 :: Tune In + Help Spread the Word!

Dear Editor,


I am writing to you from Women Make Movies---a non-profit media arts organization and the world's leading distributor of independent films by and about women---to let you know about an extraordinary program that is airing next week on PBS, which will be of interest to your readers.

A WOMAN AMONG WARLORDS, a program based on Eva Mulvad's award-winning documentary, ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS, follows outspoken Afghani women's rights activist Malalai Joya during the final weeks of her riveting campaign for a seat in the newly formed democratic parliament of Afghanistan.


Women Make Movies is proud to be distributing ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS and we invite you to tune in on September 11th for the national broadcast premiere of A WOMAN AMONG WARLORDS on the acclaimed PBS series WIDE ANGLE!


As you know, documentary film can be an incredible tool for education and awareness, and this national broadcast offers an unprecedented opportunity to not only shed light on the state of politics in war-torn Afghanistan, but also to call attention to global issues of women's human rights, democracy, and social justice. These are the very issues for which Malalai Joya has been an outspoken champion, and she continues to fight on behalf of her constituents despite repeated threats to her life and a recent illegal suspension from parliament.


Please help us spread the word about Malalai Joya's remarkable story! With the broadcast approaching so quickly, we're doing all we can to solicit support from as many diverse constituencies as possible. Thank you so much in advance for your attention to this request!

Here's how you can help:

Tune in to the broadcast premiere on PBS on Sept 11th at 9pm (check local listings).
Forward the announcement below to your members, staff, colleagues and friends.
Post a link to the announcement on your website or blog. [Link to:]
Forward this e-mail to like-minded discussion groups or listservs.

Learn More about the film.

• Learn more about  Malalai Joya.

Feel free to contact me via phone or email if you have any questions or suggestions.



Sarah Reynolds

Educational Sales & Marketing Coordinator



462 Broadway, Suite 500

New York, NY 10013

tel 212.925.0606 ext. 312 l fax 212.925.2052|



For more information about the film and its broadcast, visit here .

Available for purchase!
Women Make Movies
462 Broadway, Suite 500E
New York, NY 10013
P/212-925-0606 x360


» Tune in to the broadcast premiere on PBS on Sept 11 at 9 PM ( check local listings).

» Forward this email on to your organization's members, friends, and colleagues.

» Post an announcement about the film and broadcast to your listserv.

» Include information about the film and broadcast in your newsletter.

» Link your website here

Women Make Movies
462 Broadway, Suite 500
New York, NY 10013
P/212-925-0606 x360

Premiering on PBS' WIDE ANGLE series:

Based on the Award Winning Film, ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS



PBS | SEPT 11 | 9 PM
Check Local Listings

Women Make Movies is proud to announce the highly anticipated national broadcast premiere of A WOMAN AMONG WARLORDS, based on the award winning film, ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS, on the PBS series, WIDE ANGLE, Sept 11 at 9 PM on most PBS stations ( check local listings).

"A revelatory portrait of this extraordinary freedom fighter and the way she won the hearts of voters... "
Caroline Libresco
Sundance Film Festival

Winner of numerous awards including the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Jury Prize, this inspiring film follows Malalai Joya - an extraordinary, outspoken young woman, a folk hero and a women's rights activist - during the final weeks of her riveting campaign for a seat in the newly formed democratic parliament in Afghanistan. Recently suspended from her seat for harshly criticizing the parliament, Joya continues to struggle for the rights of the people of Afghanistan. Learn more.

Catalog   |    Collections   |    Other Offers

About WMM:
Women Make Movies is the world's leading distributor of independent films by and about women, with a focus on cutting-edge documentaries that give depth to today's headlines, as well as artistically and intellectually challenging works in all genres. Our films are showcased in prestigious exhibition venues and festivals both nationally and internationally. The Women Make Movies collection of more than 500 films and videotapes is also used by thousands of educational, community and cultural organizations annually. For more information, visit


Women Make Movies · 462 Broadway #500 · New York · NY · 10013

Report Abuse

Terry Dougherty

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fwd: News from Trust In Education

Trust In Education Newsletter
What's New In Lalander
In This Issue
The Pump has Landed
The Seeds were Planted ( literally)
Old Computers - New Beginings
Educating Girls - The Ultimate Sacrifice
Art - The Universial Language
Quick Links
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
Newsletter August/2007
Dear (Contact First Name),

       My friends have learned to never ask, "What's going on in Afghanistan?". All but the most devoted lack the attention span to listen to the complete answer. I've highlighted a few of the most recent activities in this newsletter, recognizing that these may stretch your limit as well. Consider this newsletter a dose of good news, which as you know is in short supply. Pass these on to your friends, so that they may begin to appreciate how resolved Afghans are to bring about positive change.

Water pump being installed     
     Masood Sattari, a volunteer, traveled to Kabul in June, to deliver a hydraulic ram pump built for Lalander, by Solano Community College students.  What's a hydraulic ram pump? It's a water pump recommended by one of you, after learning of the severe water delivery problems faced by Afghan farmers.  Add a few valves, some PVC pipe, gravity, glue, and  "knowhow" and voila!,  you have a water pump developed by the French over 150 years ago, that pumps water 24 hours a day, without requiring gas or electricity. The villagers were impressed  and several learned how to build them.

     Masood also visited  Polytechnic University in Kabul. He may have succeeded in enlisting an engineering professor and engineering students to join the ram pump project. Once the students know how to build the pumps, they will teach others. It never ceases to amaze us how simple ideas, even those that are 150 years old, can  have major impact.  Thank you Solano Community College and Masood!!!


      Raymond Nemati and I carried tomato and onion seeds in our luggage last year. Out went the Snickers bars. The seeds were donated by Nabi Tawakali, a local TIE supporter, and seed purveyor, for more than 16 years. Farmers were selected to test the seeds against the seeds they have been using.   The qualitative and quantitative difference between the two is staggering. Note the difference between the onions held by the happy farm hand in the photograph, below. Smiles are hard to come by when photographing Afghan men.
man with onions A

     Can we celebrate? Not yet. They can grow bigger, better, and more produce with "better" seeds. But, the "better" seeds are more expensive.  
     Are there enough consumers willing and able to pay more for produce? Can a market be developed using more expensive seeds? Afghanistan is, after all, the fifth poorest country in the world, with a per capita income of less than $300 a year.  In time we and they will know the answers to these questions.  The crops will be harvested and marketed soon.  In the interim, hope burns eternal, and by all accounts, is on the rise. 

     For the past year  teachers and students have been urging us to provide computers.  There were issues to solve i.e. electricity, finding a teacher, locating educational software programs etc. There are now computers in two of the three schools we're assisting.
       We recognize how powerful computers can be as a educational tool. In Afghanistan they are even more critical. There is a severe shortage of qualified teachers and books. Use of the words severe shortage is an understatement. I spoke with one University student a year ago who told me they didn't have any books in several of the classes he was taking. TIE, a year ago, hired a teacher who had only a third grade education, until we could find a replacement. Computers with educational software allow teachers and students to learn at their own pace. What they will be able to learn will be measured in gigabytes. Finally, computers add an element of fun to the learning process, often absent in classes taught by rote.

      Naturally, the entire Char Asiab valley has learned of the computers in Lalander. The requests for more computers, far exceeds supply. So, as you trade up, consider  donating your  "old" computer to Afghan schools.  Call or write and we'll work out the logistics. This is one area where the trickle down theory works, all the way down to the bottom rung of the ladder.
      Flat screen monitors only please. The schools rely on generators for  electricity and the "old" monitors are gas guzzlers. In fact they shut the system down.


Girls walking to school
      Several of you sent me the June 12th story concerning a  shooting in Logar, that left two Afghan school girls dead, and four wounded. The killers attacked the children as they were returning home from school. During the previous 13 months "226 schools, were burned down, a total of 110 teachers and students were killed, and 381 schools were shut down by the Taleban".
      Within a week of that incident,  I received a request by email for funds to support three more classes for girls. Over 75  girls are now attending literacy classes who weren't previously. Notwithstanding the reality that educating girls has become a life and death issue, Afghan teachers, students, and families just keep coming. Pictured here are girls on their way to winter classes held in Lalander this year.

      TIE stands ready to support as many of these requests as it can afford. How can we not, given that the cost is $50-$60 a month for a teacher and $30 a month for supplies.


art in afghan

         We've been carrying mail between Afghan and American children for three years. Most communicate through art. TIE was contacted by Louise Valeur, a volunteer with Paintbrush Diplomacy. Paintbrush Diplomacy has been exchanging art worldwide for more than 32 years. Louise provided us with children's paintings from around the world, paint brushes and paint. She later wrote to say that Paintbrush Diploma cy would  like to support an art class in Afghanistan.

       The art and supplies were delivered by Masood. The after school art class is extremely popular.  Masood noted how important after school programs are to the children. It's one more fun activity that expands their world.

        Pictured here are children from Nancy Parker's first grade parkerschool art class at Beach Elementary in Piedmont, California and the art class in Afghanistan (above). 
It's difficult to read but one sign held by an Afghan girl reads  "We hope - Help us Always". That is a message I've encountered on more than one occasion.


Please feel free to contact us at anytime with your ideas and comments. Our doors are always open.

Budd MacKenzie
Trust In Education

Trust In Education | PO Box 936 | Lafayette | CA | 94549

Terry Dougherty

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fwd: Afghans of "paternal language" (Indo-European)

on 7/24/07 Jacklyn EL Shaw wrote:

Dear Afghans and Friends, Peace Corps (FOA / RPCV, NPCA):

My condolences are for "all Afghans", regarding the late Mohammed
Zaher Shah, 92. To quote Faiez and King, Times (7/24/07):

"He was the last ruler in a 300 year dynasty, ascending to the throne
in 1933, after his father was assassinated. Zaher Shah was
overthrown in 1973 but returned to Afghanistan in 2002. . .
Afghanistan's last king was called 'Father of the Nation'. 'The
people were happy . . . hardships. . .now', says A. Qadir,
retired . . . "

By 1500 BC, Afghanistan, became the "established Crossroads to Asia",
with "paternal language", Indo-European (MS Omar, Ph.D-Harvard).
As a Californian and former instructor at Kabul University, I
witnessed many USA Afghan citizen refugees were from the 1979 Soviet
invasion. In 9/11, none of the 19 suicidal bombers were Afghan, so
how did most presume otherwise? Has our shared world history been

Your timely, in depth news is appreciated, including the quote of
"his unifying influence".

Jacklyn EL Shaw (M.Ed., Admin.-Author)
RPCV, 1976 and '77, at Kabul University
POB 3733
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Terry Dougherty

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fwd: Progress in Helmand

Green Village Schools ( has sent 8 boys who
completed our eight grade school to Lashkar Gah to complete high school with
an emphasis on science, math and computer use.

Because no suitable housing facilities were available, we are teaching our
eight girls graduates in the village. The principal of GVS is in charge of
their program which will be similar to the one the boys are undertaking in
high school.

Our success is due to a lot of hard work by our teachers and staff, the
wonderful support of our donors, especially the 41st Brigade of the Oregon
National Guard and our working board here on Portland, OR. We started with
15 boys and girls in two rented rooms in 2001 and expect to enroll over
1,000 students in fall 2007.

Thanks for keeping us in the loop through your email and the new Google

Bob McSweeny
Chair, Advisory Board
Green Village Schools

Terry Dougherty
Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne
2101 E. Coliseum Blvd. KT211
Fort Wayne, IN 46805


Monday, July 23, 2007

FOA Web Sites

Friends of Afghanistan maintains the following web sites in addition to this blog:


Our home page, where you'll find archived editions of Afghan Connections - the newsletter of Friends of Afghanistan and links to both on-line photo albums and other web sites related to Afghanistan.


The Afghan Connections blog. This is where you will find information that FoA members are looking for about Afghanistan and our group activities. You can think of this as the source material for all our publications. Anything you want to post to this page should be sent to


This Google group, where you can send messages, view message archives and discuss experiences, articles, critiques, discussion topics relative to Afghanistan then and now.


This Google group is where Friends of Afghanistan will maintain your email address and archive of future distributions of official FOA notifications and publication.

Contact Friends of Afghanistan at

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Action Alert! Peace Corps Funding needs your help


For more information on NPCA Advocacy, visit the Advocacy Network
webpage at
Dear NPCA Advocates:

This Thursday, the full Senate Appropriations Committee is going to be
considering spending levels for Foreign Operations programs including
the Peace Corps. The meeting is referred to as a "mark-up" session,
where Committee members will review spending levels and vote on final

If your Senator is a member of the Appropriations Committee, we need
you to take action now! (see list at the very end of this message to
see if you need to take action)

The House of Representatives has already voted to support the
President's Peace Corps request of $333.5 Million, which is about a
4.5% increase. In recent years, the Senate has recommended funding
levels lower than that of the House (and the President) for Peace

ACTION REQUEST (BY PHONE - Phone numbers listed below)

If listed below, call your Senator and leave this message: "I'm
calling to ask Senator ______ to support no less than the President's
request of $333.5 Million for the Peace Corps, during Thursday's
Committee mark-up of the Foreign Operations bill."


Follow this link to be connected to websites of your Senators for
email or fax information.

Use the following text as a guide when preparing your message. Please
modify and personalize as you wish:

Dear Senator ______,

As a strong supporter of the Peace Corps, I seek your leadership
during Thursday's mark up of the Foreign Operations bill to ensure
that Peace Corps receives no less than $333.5 Million, as requested by
the President and supported (last week) in the House of

The person-to-person interactions exemplified by Peace Corps
volunteers are exactly what we need more of, as the United States
seeks to regain its position as a respected leader and trusted friend.
Unfortunately, congressional funding for Peace Corps in the past two
years has resulted in a slight decrease in the current number of
volunteers in the field.

As we approach Peace Corps' 50th anniversary, I seek your support in
re-doubling efforts to expand opportunities for Peace Corps service.
An FY 2008 appropriation that at least meets the President's request
is an important first step.




ALABAMA: Richard Shelby (202-224-5744)

ALASKA: Ted Stevens (202-224-3004)

CALIFORNIA: Dianne Feinstein (202-224-3841)

COLORADO: Wayne Allard (202-224-5941)

HAWAII: Daniel Inouye (202-224-3934)

IDAHO: Larry Craig (202-224-2752)

ILLINOIS: Richard Durbin (202-224-2152)

IOWA: Tom Harkin (202-224-3254)

KANSAS: Sam Brownback (202-224-6521)

KENTUCKY: Mitch McConnell (202-224-2541)

LOUISIANA: Mary Landrieu (202-224-5824)

MARYLAND: Barbara Mikulski (202-224-4654)

MISSISSIPPI: Thad Cochran (202-224-5054)

MISSOURI: Kit Bond (202-224-5721)

NEBRASKA: Ben Nelson (202-224-6551)

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Judd Gregg (202-224-3324)

NEW JERSEY: Frank Lautenberg (202-224-3224)

NEW MEXICO: Pete Domenici (202-224-6621)

NORTH DAKOTA: Byron Dorgan (202-224-2551)

PENNSYLVANIA: Arlen Specter (202-224-4254)

RHODE ISLAND: Jack Reed (202-224-4642)

TENNESSEE: Lamar Alexander (202-224-4944)

TEXAS: Kay Bailey Hutchison (202-224-5922)

UTAH: Robert Bennett (202-224-5444)

VERMONT: Patrick Leahy (202-224-4242)

WASHINGTON: Patty Murray (202-224-2621)

WEST VIRGINIA: Robert Byrd (202-224-3954)

WISCONSIN: Herb Kohl (202-224-5653)

Jonathan Pearson (Micronesia 87 - 89)
Advocacy Coordinator
National Peace Corps Association
1900 L Street NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20036
202-293-7728, ext. 21
fax: 202-293-7554

Learn from RPCV Social Entrepreneurs

Please note: The materials and information included in this listserv
are provided as a service to you and do not necessarily reflect
endorsement by the National Peace Corps Association. Postings to this
list are by NPCA staff only. The NPCA is not responsible for the
accuracy of information provided from outside sources.

We encourage subscribers to pass the information along to colleagues
and other interested parties. Please credit this listserv as the
source and include subscription information.

To join the National Peace Corps Association, renew your membership or
to make a financial contribution in support of our programs, go to
NPCAAdvocacy mailing list

For general information on this list, to manage your subscription, to
access the archives or to unsubscribe, go to

Monday, June 25, 2007

FW: News from Trust In Education

Trust in Education
Trust In Education Newsletter
Update on Our Village to Village Program in Afghanistan June 2007

In This Issue

Pictures from Budd's Recent Trip

From the Trenches, by Budd Mackenzie



Pictures from Budd's Recent Trip
Pictures from Budd's Latest Trip

Dear terry,

Budd has returned from another successful trip to Afghanistan. Another 8,500 trees were planted, bringing the total to 21,481. The children were particularly excited to see him this time as their new soccer field was almost complete. When he arrived, they rushed from their classrooms to greet him and thank him. Sometimes the simplest things have tremendous impact. To read more, look at the May 2007 Progress Report.

Ann, Jonathan and Budd

  • From the Trenches, by Budd Mackenzie
  • When I last wrote I was in Afghanistan, only a few days from the "big day," when the Circus was coming to town. It was a logistical nightmare. Fifty student performers needed to be transported from Kabul to Lalander, a seventeen mile, hour and a half bus ride. The war torn roads to Lalander will destroy even the most resilient suspension systems. No problem, simply call the bus company. But, there are no bus companies. Rahmanaddin Namati spent six hours one afternoon flagging down privately owned buses in Kabul, negotiating for a pick up scheduled for 8:30 the next morning. The drivers proved to be "not interested" as were their passengers. Undaunted, Rahmanaddin headed out at 5 am the next morning, driven in part by a belief often relied upon in Afghanistan, "If it is God's will..." Three and a half hours later two buses arrived on time. The cost per bus for six hours was $40.

    There were acrobats, jugglers, singers, comedians, and a community feast. One sketch had a huge banner, identifying and warning the children of land mines and explosive devices. The lesson was in part delivered by song!

    A good time was had by all. Well, almost all. Thirty minutes before the show began,I realized not a single woman and less than 12 girls were in attendance. Later that day I asked a small group of women why they had not attended. In response I was told "Well things are different here than they are in Kabul". The answer was delivered as a statement of fact without emotion or comment. I left the topic there. In a society where people have been threatened and punished for expressing their views, it's frequently difficult to have an open discussion on "sensitive" topics. Fear is a silencer.

    I must confess that I returned home discouraged by "circus day". While Lalander currently remains free of the Taliban, we are painfully aware of the war they are continuing to wage in Afghanistan. That war includes burning down schools, threatening educators and families with daughters in school. Some who have refused to heed Taliban warnings have lost their lives. But, even in a village where a significant number of families have chosen to send their daughters to school, a "woman's place" does not include attending a circus.

    Once back in the States, I decided to research our own history of women's rights. In 1850 a national convention was held in New York to discuss women's rights. The convention adopted several goals, one of which was establishing a woman's right to vote. When was that right granted? In the past two weeks two fourth graders at different schools provided me with the correct answer. Women achieved the right to vote in 1920, by amendment to the US Constitution. Colorado was the first state to ratify the amendment in 1893. Therefore, it took 43 years for the first state and 70 years for the United States to recognize a woman's right to vote.

    What's the lesson? The struggle for the most basic freedoms for Afghan women will be a long one. It's a struggle that will be won, one mind at a time. We, and particularly I, must be patient and steadfast in our commitment. The consequences of retreating are unthinkable.

  • Donations
  • It is readily apparent from daily news reports that Afghanistan's future is at stake. It is imperative that we join the Afghans now in their struggle for the most basic freedoms. There is no such thing as a small contribution in a country whose annual per capita income is less than $300 a year. You can make a difference.

    Send a check or money order (any currency) to:

    Trust In Education
    PO Box 936
    Lafayette, CA 94549


    Donate with PayPal. PayPal is a Web site that accepts credit card and bank transfer payments. You need to set up a PayPal account to donate via PayPal. This requires providing credit card and/or bank information. Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express are accepted.

    Learn More
    :: (925) 299-2010