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KBI/Tzu Mission to Afghanistan and Cambodia

With Coordination provided by the AFPC - Asia Pacific Initiative

July 26, 2002
Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Greetings again:

We spent the day here in Bamiyan City, near the famous Buddhist Statue Locations.

We were shown a group of 75 refugees living on a hillside within 1 mile of the statues. They have been overlooked by the normal aid agencies. This morning, we went the camp to hand out our cards: This is our method of identifying the recipients of the aid. In this camp, we gave the same package of aid to every family living there, but the cards are still needed to make sure we have covered every family, and have included one member from each "household."

After handing out the cards, we knew the quantity of families, and loaded the truck with the appropriate clothing.

For each family, we loaded a large blanket, 1 adult coat, 1 child's coat, 1 adult pair of shoes, 1 child's pair of shoes, 1 T-Shirt, and 1-Sweatshirt.

Then we returned to the camp, split into two areas, and set out the family unit piles of clothing. After calling the people with cards to come to the area (all within about 100 yards), we distributed the supplies.

We were told that the next camp to distribute to had about 100 people and was about 40 km away. So we thought we would go there, distribute cards, get a census, return to camp, load the truck, and make it back to distribute the clothes.

We got all but the last part done. The sun was setting on us as we were finishing loading the truck. We found out that the ride to the camp was via a long and winding switchbacked road up to about a 10,000 foot elevation, and it was very slow going. (over one hour)

When we got there, we learned that this camp was different. Last October / January, we were delivering food to refugees that had fled the Taliban. The people from this camp had fled here to escape the Taliban. This camp is actually a village under reconstruction. It had been destroyed by the Taliban, and these folks have all recently returned to their village. There are 350 families, with 100 of them too poor to buy food, or supplies to rebuild their homes.

They told us of stories of their neighboring village - one that did not see a need to flee - thinking that the Taliban might not be so bad. Our villagers found mass graves of over 1000 adults, in 3 graves. The children had been wrapped in rugs and blankets and stabbed to death with bayonets.

We identified the poorest 100 families (the village leaders did most of this) and we headed back to camp to load the truck. We discussed the plight of these villagers and decided to take the bulk of the remainder of the clothes to these folks, who are already not sure if they can get adequately prepared for winter. This area, at its elevation, gets very cold and a lot of snow.

It took the rest of the evening to sort and load the truck to be ready to leave as soon as there is light tomorrow. We expect this village to take the bulk of the day tomorrow. This village is another that fits the mold of a Knightsbridge project. It is very difficult to get to. They are not huge so are not receiving a lot of attention from other NGO's, and it is within our capacity to help them in a big way.

Photos included with this update include:

  • 4128: Loaded truck at our camp, looking out over the valley to the Buddha Statue location.
  • 4137: Kid with Knightsbridge Card for clothing distribution.
  • 4164: Cave Dwellings
  • 4159: Kids in Cave
  • 4157: Girl by her Cave
  • 4180: Clothing Distribution
  • 4185: Ed helping girl with a donated coat.

Thanks again for your support, and we are looking forward to another busy day tomorrow.

Good night.

Walt Ratterman, with Ed Artis and Adrian Belic
Knightsbridge International
Bamiyan, Afghanistan

July 26, 2002

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