KBI/Tzu Mission to Afghanistan and
With Coordination provided by the AFPC - Asia Pacific Initiative
July 24, 2002
Today should be our last day in Kabul, unless we return here on our
way out. For the past two days, we have been distributing some of the
humanitarian aid that we brought in to Kabul, and making arrangements
for moving our remaining three trucks to Bamiyan. We leave for Bamiyan
July 23, 2002:
This was a day of aid distributions and meetings.
In the morning we went to the school supported by FAR (Friends for Afghan
Redevelopment). Mr. Sher Dil Qaderi, its Director, led a presentation
of several sorts of aid to the school. In the containers and trucks that
Knightsbridge brought to Afghanistan were 38 boxes of school supplies
for this school, provided by FAR. These school supplies were presented.
In our last update, we described a program where FAR is building desks
for the students. A presentation of about 50 desks was made this morning.
These desks had been provided by donations through FAR and their friends.
During the presentation, Knightsbridge made a donation of $1300 for
100 student positions in their Lucky 13 program. Each position includes
a desk, school supplies, and partial funding for a school nurse and medicines.
This 100- desk donation should be sufficient, when added to the several
hundred provided by FAR, to complete the desk requirement for this facility,
and be able to go on to the next school.
The entire event was televised, and broadcast on Afghan TV.
Following the presentation at the school, we went to one of the two
International Orphan Care facilities (the one here in Kabul, the other
one is in Jalalabad) and made clothing presentations to the children there.
Since our delivery of the supplies yesterday, the staff at the orphanage
had sorted through the clothes and prepared packages for each child that
represented his/her size and sex. When we arrived, everything was set
up for the presentations to the children.
After this presentation, we went to the roof, where they have their
cooking and eating areas set up (under shelter), and participated in the
The rest of the day was spent on meetings:
In the afternoon, we met with a representative of a firm that is pursuing
solar power as a solution to development here in Afghanistan, much like
Knightsbridge is doing. Although they were managing their affairs as a
for-profit business, we had much in common and shared a lot of information
on what we had already found, and what we thought would be the best ways
to approach solar power here in Afghanistan. It is likely that we will
work together in some capacity in the future.
All through the day, the largest issue we were dealing with was freeing
our 3 trucks to leave Kabul for Bamiyan. The truckers have been here more
than long enough, and we need to get them on the road. However, it has
been strongly recommended to us that they have "papers" from a government
official assuring them of safe passage. We also needed to meet with someone
who could tell us how to direct the trucks once they arrive in Bamiyan
so that the off-loading procedure could begin prior to our arrival, if
a safe storage location was assured by the government.
A major government function was in process all morning and into the
afternoon, so it was difficult to contact anyone. Finally, Sher Dil and
Quduos were able to get us a meeting with Karim Khalili. Mr. Khalili is
an advisor to President Karzai. (He would be like a vice president in
the US.) At one point, we had a meeting arranged with President Karzai
as well, but he was on his way out of the country for a meeting in the
We finally got to see Mr. Khalili around 4:00 p.m. and met with him
for over an hour. We received a hand written letter for the truckers'
safe passage, and a letter for them to give to the commander in Bamiyan
so that a secure unloading area and accommodations would be arranged.
Mr. Khalili also gave us a letter to take with us the following day when
we drive to Bamiyan to assure safe passage, although he assured us that
this was not really required.
Mr. Khalili had worked with Ed Artis in the past on several missions
including trips into Bamiyan with Tzu Chi, and remembered him well. He
was very glad to see us and was particularly glad we were taking aid to
Bamiyan, since this area has been neglected by all aid organizations to
date. (We are taking the first trucks with aid from Uzbekistan into the
Bamiyan that anyone knows of.)
Once we received the documents, we had to find a place that could photocopy
them, and we made extra copies for the truckers and ourselves. We met
with the truckers and explained why this took all day, but we were now
secure that they would be able to pass un-hassled to Bamiyan. They will
leave at daybreak on Wednesday.
During our discussions with Quduos and Sher Dil, we learned that one
of the commanders we had lived with in October on our first mission here
following 9-11, Abdul Rashid, was working as a Police Chief in one of
the districts here in Kabul. We found him and surprised him. It was quite
a reunion, and we all had dinner this evening.
July 24, 2002:
This has become a catch-up day. We have a lot of paperwork to do based
on our USAID grant proposal for the Philippines. We received word that
our request for increase from$60,000 to $110,000 (to purchase US made
drugs instead of European manufactured drugs) was approved, and they need
another round of paperwork. We also need to write the Purchase Orders
to the pharmaceutical company to get the drugs moving towards the Philippines.
We have to ask for an extension of the date for delivery of the medicines
since they were originally scheduled for arrival in the Philippines on
July 31st, but with the grant award delay, we need another two weeks for
this. We wrote all of these documents and sent them out from a make-shift
office we set up in an abandoned room in the "hotel" we are staying at.
Later this morning, we took a trip to the US Embassy to try to set up
a meeting with one of the officials with USAID later this afternoon. You
cannot call them for an appointment. Luckily, Sher Dil knew some of the
guys at the front gate, and through his prompting, we were able to arrange
an impromptu meeting on the grounds of the Embassy, between some of the
check points. This saved us quite a bit of time going through all of the
searches and checks.
The gentleman we met with was very helpful, and provided us with an
outline of the procedures for participating in the USAID programs in Afghanistan,
as well as giving us a list of contacts to work with.
At dinner, we met with one of the directors of Management Sciences for
Health (MSH), and their field co-ordinator. MSH has received a contract
from USAID to provide immediate, emergency, health care services throughout
Afghanistan. One of their goals is to use as many local and/or smaller
NGO's as they can. They were very helpful in explaining to us all of the
details of their program, what types of projects are fundable, deadlines
for submissions, and times for performance. It was encouraging to meet
with MSH, because they made it clear that they are interested in not only
working with local NGO's, but where these local NGO's require assistance,
MSH is working to shore up their capabilities. We hope that there will
be some common ground where Knightsbridge can work together with MSH in
the near future.
After dinner we met with the Deputy Minister of Public Health, and learned
all about what they consider to be their urgent needs. During the meeting,
Ed provided a lot of ideas for the Ministry of Health to consider in being
able to more quickly address the medical needs of the citizens in remote
areas. One of the ideas Ed presented was to partner with different doctor
groups and provide in-field experience for the doctors, possibly gaining
CEU's, and having an adventure at the same time. We were able to establish
a good line of communication with the Deputy Minister that will definitely
prove useful in the near future.
This marks the end of this 4-day leg in Kabul. It is late, and tomorrow,
we leave for Bamiyan at 4:30 a.m.
Photographs attached to this update include:
- 3947: Ed, Sher Dil, & Quduos presenting
FAR chairs to Sharinow school
- 3951: School supplies (donated by FAR,
delivered by Knightsbridge) being presented.
- 3956: Handing out clothing to IOC Orphanage
- 3962: Ed in serving line at IOC orphanage
- 3986: Ed, Walt, Sher-Dil, and Quduos
with Vice President Khalili
- 3984: Ed, Walt and Sher-Dil talking
with Vice President Khalili
Thanks again for your continued support.
Walt Ratterman, with Ed Artis and Adrian Belic
July 24, 2002