Posted by: Beth | April 12, 2013

Responses to ‘Our Journey to Smile’

People out in Oxford this Friday stopped to read some of the Afghan Peace Volunteers’ posts from ourjourneytosmile.com/blog, and wrote solidarity and friendship messages in response.

"We all want Homes not Drones, Food not Bombs, Give Love a Chance!"

Soo Tian: “We all want Homes not Drones, Food not Bombs, Give Love a Chance!”

"Keep up the good work, I will pray for you. Ann"

“Keep up the good work, I will pray for you. Ann”

"Samia - I read your message and want to tell you how much I admire you and your people. Stay strong and brave, keep working hard for your future as a woman. Women all over the world admire you, and know you are clever and brave. We all support you, love to you all. Margaret."

Samia – I read your message and want to tell you how much I admire you and your people. Stay strong and brave, keep working hard for your future as a woman. Women all over the world admire you, and know you are clever and brave. We all support you, love to you all. Margaret.”

"Good luck to you in all your endeavors, from rainy Oxford. Lesley"

“Good luck to you in all your endeavors, from rainy Oxford. Lesley”

"We are listening"

“We are listening”

"Solidarity from Oxford"

John: “Solidarity from Oxford”

"Raz continue to hope, study and be brave for your brother, may god protect and bless you!"

Raz continue to hope, study and be brave for your brother, may god protect and bless you!”

"Hi Abdulhai, I live in Oxford, I have just heard about the Afghan Peace Volunteers from some people spreading the word in the UK. I'm so glad you feel safe with your family, I feel the same about my loved ones, they must be cherished. I truly hope that soon 'the war and silliness' ends and you find more space. Keep up the excellent work! Matt Russell"

“Hi Abdulhai, I live in Oxford, I have just heard about the Afghan Peace Volunteers from some people spreading the word in the UK. I’m so glad you feel safe with your family, I feel the same about my loved ones, they must be cherished. I truly hope that soon ‘the war and silliness’ ends and you find more space. Keep up the excellent work! Matt Russell”

"Hello friends from Kabul! I really admire your bravery, faith and initiative! I give you all my support, I believe with you that you can bring positive change to your country. Keep it up! Best, Leanne from Hong Kong."

“Hello friends from Kabul! I really admire your bravery, faith and initiative! I give you all my support, I believe with you that you can bring positive change to your country. Keep it up! Best, Leanne from Hong Kong.”

"Nao Rozi, I was touched by your message. Solidarity with you and all those striving for peace. Ruth"

Nao Rozi, I was touched by your message. Solidarity with you and all those striving for peace. Ruth”

"Things will get better. God loves you, from Oxford"

“Things will get better. God loves you, from Oxford”

"Dear Samia, Raz, Abdulhai, Topikai, and Nao Rozi, I wish you all the very best for the future. You are all so brave and adventurous. Much hope, and peace. Jane."

“Dear Samia, Raz, Abdulhai, Topikai, and Nao Rozi, I wish you all the very best for the future. You are all so brave and adventurous. Much hope, and peace. Jane.”

"It all comes out in the wash. Roll on."

“It all comes out in the wash. Roll on.”

"Hi Topikai, I have a blue scarf and when I wear it I will be thinking of you and your struggle. From Jess in Oxford."

“Hi Topikai, I have a blue scarf and when I wear it I will be thinking of you and your struggle. From Jess in Oxford.”

"Hi Raz Mohammed, I've heard your message and been moved by it. All the best for you and your family, from Jim in Oxford."

“Hi Raz Mohammed, I’ve heard your message and been moved by it. All the best for you and your family, from Jim in Oxford.”

"The future is peace! Let's resist the perpetual system of violence and spread Love! In solidarity."

“The future is peace! Let’s resist the perpetual system of violence and spread Love! In solidarity.”

"It's a very worthy plight and I wish you all the best. Cheryl xx"

“It’s a very worthy plight and I wish you all the best. Cheryl xx”

"Raz, For every man and woman behind a drone there are a hundred who are dying for this all to end. Keep faith, keep hope, keep standing tall. Though we may never meet the world is made more perfect and better for the hundreds of detached voices striving for peace, a community for hope which crosses every boundary. If we do ever meet, the drinks are on me!"

Raz, For every man and woman behind a drone there are a hundred who are praying for this all to end. Keep faith, keep hope, keep standing tall. Though we may never meet the world is made more perfect and better for the hundreds of detached voices striving for peace, a community for hope which crosses every boundary. If we do ever meet, the drinks are on me!”

Posted by: Beth | March 24, 2013

Poem from Kabul – “To the next generation”

To The Next Generation by Basir Bita

رویاهایم تنها در چشمان تو به واقعیت می پیوندند

I can only find my dreams real in your eyes

با حسی از امید به دیدن آنها

With a sense of hope to see

بلند شدم و تو دستانم را فشردی

I got up and you hold my hands

قلبم را با عشقت فشار بده

Squeeze my heart with your love

خونم را به عطر مبدل کن

Turn my blood to perfume.

دیگر زمزمه نکن

Stop whispering,

با من حرف بزن

Talk to me

تو اولین برف در بیابان منی

You’re the first snow of my desert life

گریه تا من پربار شوم

Weep until I get fruitful

و آنگاه که پر بار شدم

And when I am fruitful

تو در زیر سایه ی مرطوبم در تابستان زندگی ات بیاسای”

You will rest under my wet shadow in the summer of your life

Faiz, of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, reporting from KABUL, Afghanistan.

Every day, I see a person near our house named Mr. Sayaf. He is 50 years old, and he comes from Maidan Wardak province. He lost both of his legs during the civil war in Afghanistan. He lost the first leg when a rocket landed in his house and exploded. About ten years later, another missile blew off his other leg. Because he cannot walk, he cannot work like the rest of us. He has two artificial legs, which were given to him in the hospital after his operations. “I live with a lot of suffering and sadness,” Mr. Sayaf said.

Mr. Sayaf has a wheelbarrow filled with mousetraps, cups, knives, forks, and credit cards for use with mobile phones. He has a special motorcycle with four tires that he rides to work each day.  He lives with his wife and six children in a house about two kilometers from his wheelbarrow, which he leaves each night at a spot near the Pul-e-Surkh Canal. Near Mr. Sayaf’s wheelbarrow is a friend who has lost one leg. Mr. Sayaf told me that he earns about 200 Afghanis (four dollars in US money) each day. He works from 8:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon, six days a week. I asked Mr. Sayaf if he earns enough for his family’s needs. He said, “It’s not enough, but we have to live on it.”

His motorcycle needs four new tires, but he doesn’t have enough money to buy them. When I spoke with him, it was snowing. He told me that it is very difficult for him to drive his motorcycle in the snow and mud. He must work every day because his family does not have enough fuel to keep his room warm, or enough food or warm clothes. The Afghan government does not give Mr. Sayaf any financial assistance. He said that there is a lot of corruption in the government. Money from outside the country goes into the pockets of government officials, “and there are lots of holes in those pockets,” he said.  Several of his relatives do have money, but they do not help Mr. Sayaf and his family. “Nobody helps the poor people. We have lost our humanity,” Mr. Sayaf said.

I asked Mr. Sayaf, who was an Afghan policeman before the civil war, “What do you hope for the future?” He looked at me and said, “Hope? What is the meaning of hope?”

Posted by: Beth | February 16, 2013

Friendship messages from Oxford

I support the peace campaigners of Afghanistan

Clare, British peace activist and facilitator with Action AWE

Dan, secondary school teacher

Dan, secondary school teacher

Beth, special needs tutor from Oxford

Beth, special needs tutor

Posted by: Beth | February 15, 2013

Report from Kabul – Beggar Girls in the Streets

A report by Faiz, member of the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV). Faiz and the other volunteers run open classes that large numbers of local children attend, including children from the street such as Mariam.

My friend’s name is Mariam. She is 12 years old. I want to teach you
about the situation of beggar girls on the streets of Kabul. Mariam is
a beggar girl. Every evening around 4:30 she stands in front of  a
bakery in karte se and asks each person who buys  bread to also buy a
piece for her.  She stops at 7:00. Each night people give her around
20 pieces of bread. I asked her to please stop this work. She said her
family does not have enough bread at home. I asked her what her
brothers and sisters did. She said that one of her sister’s name is
Frishta and she also begs.

Mariam has a father and both a mother and a step- mother. Mariam has
two older brothers and her step-mother has 6 children. Mariam and her
bothers go to school. Mariam’s father will not let her to go to a
special course about English, computers and mathematics. She says her
father argues with her mother about family problems. Her father is a
mover. He rents his wheelbarrow so that people can carry things from
place to place.
Mariam is quite short. Her scarf and clothes are old. Her jacket is
also very old. Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (APV) want to help the
children in the streets. We want to teach them how to write and read.
We also want to teach them about nonviolence. Mariam wants to be a
teacher in the future.

Mariam is afraid of her father. She says her father will beat her if
she goes to the special class. I want to ask the children in the class I teach to invite  Mariam to come to the classes at the APV’s house. I hope she does.

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