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