THESE ARE EXPERIENCES I HAD WHILE I WAS IN THE U.S. PEACE CORPS, TEACHING ENGLISH TO FUTURE TEACHERS AND ENGINEERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KABUL. THIS WAS FROM 1977 TO 1978.
Kite-flying was on my mind right now, and I remembered this experience.
NOTE: Last night republican candidates were flying some kites of their own. A few were more like lead balloons.
MONDAY, AUGUST 14, 2006
We volunteers were required to make a visit to a provincial Afghan school. My visit was to a school in Jalalabad. Jalalabad was where fruit trees grew. It was an oasis only 3 hours from Kabul. The bus ride on the high, tortuous and narrow mountain road was frightening. I was happy when the bus stopped for prayers.
At the school in Jalalabad I walked into a crowded classroom. There were a few long benches and one blackboard. I was waiting for some instruction to begin. It was very quiet. Suddenly, the classroom emptied. I followed the crowd of students to the center of the schoolyard. A crowd of students surrounded one boy. Another student began hitting this boy on the back with a branch. It lasted for less than a minute, then the crowd returned to the classroom. I asked what had just transpired, and was told that the student had spoken in class. I had not heard anyone, but apparently the teacher had. Discipline!
While walking in Jalalabad I met a great-grandson of a famous Afghan governor.This great-grandson invited me to his house for tea. On our way to his house a child was crossing the road. The great-grandson tried to avoid hitting the child, but didn't. He accelerated when I protested that he had just hit a child. I looked back, and saw that the child had gotten up from the ground, apparently only grazed by the contact. The great-grandson pointed out that the child was not badly injured, and that if he had stopped he would have been in serious trouble. When we arrived at his house, he opened two large metal doors, and drove the Volkswagen beetle inside.
It was a very large estate, the largest I had ever seen while in Kabul. It had lush foliage and many fruit trees.
Tea was brought.After tea, the great-grandson brought out a huge kite in the shape of an American eagle, and he got it aloft in no time.He pointed out the "glass" string.He said proudly that his kite had never lost.I watched as the eagle flew higher and higher into the sky.Another kite was flying nearby.The great-grandson said, "Watch this".He quickly moved the string on his American eagle, and then he deftly sliced the string on the other kite.He still had never lost.