Tuesday, 24 April 2007

today, and pictures from before today

building the kiln in istalif
the cook had a little canary, it sang so much
in a tea/liver-kebab shop in the old city...
there were dodgy things in big basins... but the tea and company were good.
there is a street called bird street in the old city, full of birds cages and men, and it made me so sad to see this big beautiful owl with the most amazing eyes in the world, feathers falling off his wings, kept in a small, dirty, cloth-covered cage... the man who kept him was also owl-like ` somehow
our Istalif-style kiln here in kabul
inside one of the houses tmf are restoring in Murad Khani
the graffiti is cool here!

today was an up and down day as usual. i don't understand how that happens.
got up and got the kiln on the go at 6, and then our new teacher from Mazar held his first class, i joined in and felt like one of the potters, i sometimes forget i'm a woman from (...who knows where) cuae i feel so comfortable with them, i'll miss them all alot alot. anyways, then it was a lovley friend and colleague's last day at work so we all stood in the grass for speaches, biscuits and hot milk (i opted out of the latter two; not very vegan)... it's sad to see her go. but i'm happy for her as well cuase it'l be better for her. she'll be doing amazing stuff helping out deaf children and at the state-run orphanage where the children really don't have it easy...
then pottered about a bit =), had a lunch of rice (with raisins and carrots, mhhmm) and the joke was that one of the potters who is a Qori (ie knows the whole Quran off by heart) said there wasn't any food in Afghanistan that he didn't like, and the Ustad said, he he so you also like wine! and he thought that was pretty funny. our lunchtime conversations go from anything to womens rights, to the trouble-years, to why o why i don't eat meat-eggs-milk, food in general, potterystuff, to politics and corruption, and just about everything inbetween. if only i knew better dari!
the bi-weekly school meeting went on, as usual, longer than expected, and then i was happy when i came out to hear that the new kickwheels for the resource centre in Istalif have been completed, and they're excellent, much better than the ones we've got here that we had made in the beginning. We managed to convince the guy who made them to fix our old ones without getting paid, which is pretty amazing. People here are so generous...
Then i had my harmonium lesson, and huy huy i should know more by now, but its really fun. i'll have to for sure keep practicing when i get back to scotland.
then this whole big crew of important people from the british embassy were coming, which meant a whole yard full of armoured cars and armoured guards and people in suits. i felt lucky to have a previous crucial appointment: dinner with molly and shaheen, along with some other people from here. it's so so crazy the amount of restaurants and places there are here... sometimes i can forget where i am in teh world...
well now i'm off to bed. i was meaning to do some work, but here i am writing this instead. we're going early to Istalif tomorrow to finish the kiln we're building there, so i think sleep is the way forward at the minute.

Monday, 16 April 2007

alot can happen in a month and a half...or almost two months! time is flying, help!

it's been a long while now since i last wrote... feels like a hundred years!
i got back from Pakistan, (had to fly in a tiny little plane, cuase nobody was happy with me going back overland alone from the Pakistan side, and then it turned out there was a bit of an incident on a stretch of the road i would've been passing through just a few hours later, so it was just as well...)
then about 10 days after, we went off to Mazar-e-Sharif! all the potters, and hassina-jaan, and me, it was great=). i do admit to wishing i'd been a man with darker skin, however! was a little bit limiting to be me, (i.e. couldn't go along to one of the trips, couldn't go to many of hte nao-roz concerts, although we went to a few on new years day which were amazing, music from tajikistan and pakistan, with young boys jumping up to dance -rather provocatively!- in front of the stage). it was a good trip! we saw lots of tiles, found brilliant clay (its such a shame that its so far away from here!), had a general good bonding time, and recruited a new teacher for the ceramics school! He arrived yesterday, and got straight to work.
then, after mazar, the other lot went back to kabul, and i went up to uzbekistan! which is a whole other story that i'll save for later! it was so so great, i really enjoyed it, and got so inspired and met so many brilliant potters and saw so many beautiful buildings and tiles, but also had a lot a lot of trouble at the border which put a bit of a damper on things, but in general it was excellent. and like i said, i'll write about all that another time and put on some photos. i'd love to go back!
i'd love to go everywhere!
then when i got back here it was green! warm! spring! the past few days have even felt a wee bit hot. there's leaves sprouting so fast i feel like if i just stood still and watched them for a minute i'd see them grow=). good news for ceramics. things are drying quickly! we can fire more kilns! work seems to be increasing, my capabilities seem to be decreasing... i don't know why, i just feel tired... in my brain, heart etc. i'll get over it.
there's been alot of deaths as well... it's so sad, three relatives of co-workers have died since i las wrote, two from the same family. makes me think that i want to need to try to appreciate things more.
a really brilliant kate left tmf yesterday, there's a huge gaping hole after her... i really miss her already.
but on the upside, we've got a good addition as well, jenny who is excellent. it's not easy this coming and going, and i've been thinking about my leaving as well, which will be dead hard... and i feel bad about it already... ugh i'll miss all these people so much!
today was a great day, i skived from the office and spent most of the day with the potters down in the school. i don't know how they can be so amazing...
exciting news; we now have the resource centre in istalif rolling onwards, they're building the walls and getting it ready, and the other day the pugmills arrived, whoohoo! and we also bought an old mill to grind everything for us, covered in naswari (tobacco, snuff) from it's last use. and in a couple of weeks we'll get our bricks and all for building the gaskiln in istalif. and then there's all these commissions (we've been asked to make bowls for the presiden! help...) and exhibitions and trying to fit in kiln-firings and literacy classes inbetween everything. but at least i'm not dealing with buildings or huge things like that... would do my head in i think!

now it's been several more days.
the only exciting thing to report is that the potters gave me a little hedgehog!!! they found it on the road to istalif one night. it had long little ears and was so so so cute! but sadly sadly after one night i couldn't find it anymore. i feel a bit sad that it was taken from lovely istalif to dirty grass-less kabul, but i hope it's found itself a nice little spot somewhere here in the fort... it was really cute, i wish i would've taken a picture of it before it disappeared...

and on thursday we are getting eminent guest; my parents are coming over from pakistan, along with an old friend from school. so that will be great=).

ok i'll stop for now.
one of these days i'll write something interesting and meaningfull instead of all of this blabbing...