Yesterday morning I was nervous as a hen, feeling the responsibility of showcasing your beautiful creations for the local community! I met Nicole, owner of Tierra, at noon and she ushered me onto the lovely back patio and garden. She had graciously gotten the cords up for the hanging early in the morning so it was ready to rock ‘n roll. My turn! Once again I found myself weeping (oh, my) as I arranged the scarves in what I found to be optimal display.
I had sorted all the scarves in piles according to colors the night before, so it was a far easier task, using the scarves as a palette as I chose which scarves to juxtapose. Very fun!
But why am I weeping? Nicole wonders. How do I possibly explain that she’s looking at scarves, but I’m looking at stories, at hearts, at spirits, at love woven from far away and now come together in this incredible collaborative exhibition? Oh, I felt you all so, I can’t begin to explain. So, thank you, is all I can say.
Nicole kindly snapped the photo at top after I’d gotten half the show up (see the relief on my face?). I relaxed into knowing it was all going to be fine, it would work, and I hung the remaining scarves in short order. Can you even begin to imagine the energy emanating from this outstanding collection?
OK, with the show up, it is time to get home, prepare Afghani food (close enough), which I’d tracked down with help from friend Brenda and had picked up last weekend at the Farmer’s Market. A contribution box was created, just in case, and some phone calls and email from inquiring folks were returned. What was most exciting to me was that one of our California knitters, Radiance, was planning on passing through town yesterday, so she was going to attempt to come to the show. Right on time they rang me from Tierra that she had arrived. I scrambled into my chosen outfit for the evening and rushed down excitedly to meet her. One of US! Here! And what a dear person, something I’d already ascertained by her two beautiful scarves, and her accompanying emails. Here’s dear Radiance with me at the start of the event.
Do we look happy? We are.
Radiance and her husband continued their journey, then, out to the coast, and other interesting people began to arrive. A man who had served in Peace Corps in Afghanistan. A friend of his who had done same. I was thrilled to meet folks who knew not only Greg’s work but also Rory Stewart’s and who had had experiences in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Then arrived a very dear older couple who had lived in Pakistan in the early 60’s! “We went to Gilgit! We didn’t even need oxygen!” Having just finished Thin Air, I could follow his thinking. And so it went throughout the evening. A woman named Melodee arrived with her precious granddaughter, Emma, from up north with an armload of scarves! “I knitted these last year,” was her explanation. I added them to the growing alternative pile of smaller scarves begun by Kusum’s schoolchildren and by JoAnn, the weaver in Ashland. Why not? Dave and wife Jean came by, whom some of you know as my dear next door neighbors. They were on their way to Thursday night squaredancing, but came to see the show on the way. So sweet. A schoolteacher came who told me she had read about the Korphe village schoolchildren in Three Cups of Tea to her own classroom of children.
We ate grapes. (Yes, they grow grapes in Pakistan!) We sipped wine. We laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. It was never too busy. It was a perfect flow of small groups of interested and interesting people the entire evening, which allowed for being fully present, never distracted, a perfect sendoff for our wonderful mutual creation.
I have Nicole to thank for her gracious and ever-so-willing and kind hospitality to welcome the Scarf Initiative into Tierra. What a fabulous, rich environment in which to display the scarves. Thank you, Nicole!
Now, two things I must share. First, it had been my intention to share with people at last night’s event a video I had discovered in my ever present research of Pakistan. It had been created by a group of Pakistani popular singers and reminded me very much of our video “We Are the World.” Only, poignantly, the Pakistani version is “We are Pakistanis, and we are not who modern media would have you believe.” Indeed, the name of the video is “Yeh Hum Naheen” translated as “This Is Not Us.” Though I was able to contact the producer in the UK and he graciously tried to get a dvd to me to show last night, it was not in the cards, most likely because of busy lives and timing. I am therefore going to include here. The very beginning of this will have you thinking,”What is this??” but bear with the beginning, please, and see it through to the end. I was personally very touched, and both surprised and disappointed that while this vid is known in Europe, it has not made its way fully into America. Perhaps you will be seeing it here first.
(If you are unable to see here, please go to link.)
It is clear to me that every single one of you who has participated in this project, whether in thought, word or stitch by loving stitch, is reaching across the miles with a resounding, “We hear you, and here is our response.” Plant whatever brings you joy, my dears.
Lastly, I would also be remiss if I did not share a note I received from Mariassunta Lenotti, who is an Italian doctor who oversees the small clinic established in Askole village, erected as a tribute to a young Italian boy who scaled K2, only to fall to his death in his descent. I cannot begin to tell you how difficult it has been to secure data about Askole, so it was a very welcomed Godsend when Mariassunta, who was an expedition doctor, wrote back to me from Italy. She will return in spring, and I hope to keep a conversation going with her in future.
…I have been going to Askole since 1997 and before in 1996 as the doctor of an expedition to K2.
In the valley they don’t use to make a census of population, but I began to do this at Askole since about 3 years.
There are at the moment 630 people, seventy houses and about 230 children.
There is a big school with about 110 students, about 20 are girls. There is also a Koranic school.
They usually speak Balti’, but many people speak and read in Urdu and some also in English, so that they can understand if you write in one of these languages.
If you want to read some information about our dispensary at Askole and about our association, you can visit Amici di Lorenzo Association . During winter we are always present at Askole.
My best greetings,
Thank you again, everyone, from the bottom of my heart.
With love and humble gratitude,
Footnote: please check in to this post for any last minute updates or photos! The next full post on this project will be photos of our girls with their scarves. We do not yet know how long that will take. Blessings on their passage!
The above photo was just emailed to me by Mariassunta Lenotti, the doctor at Askole Dispensary, the first and only medical facility in Askole. Marissunta has provided me with the names of two of the teachers at the local small school whom she trusts. Hallelujah!
December 2, 2008: Dear Readers, This morning I received word from Nazir Sabir’s office that the scarves have all safely arrived in Islamabad! I will keep you posted on delivery to Askole! Kathryn xoxo
December 14, 2008: Scarf Update: I have advised Nazir Sabir not to attempt anything resembling heroism in delivering the scarves to Askole village, but to wait until it is safe to traverse the Karakoram Hwy. The Fed.Ex. bill was paid and there were enough funds left over to purchase more caps and mittens, and one yellow knitted baby blanket ($4.99) which I could not resist. I am sending a second much smaller package this week to Islamabad with these items plus a few scarves that were brought to me at the last minute by a local woman, for which there was absolutely no room in the first box. I will create a new post when the scarves have all safely arrived. xoxo
January 12, 2009 The second package is being picked up by Fed. Ex. today. (I guess Christmas intervened!) There are 23 smaller scarves, ten caps, nine pairs of gloves and two baby blankets. I also sent a headscarf I purchased for the village woman who helps runs the Askole Medical Clinic with her husband, as a gift. Synchronistically awaiting me this morning was a note from Nazir Sabir’s asst. saying they think they will soon send someone up the Karakoram Hwy. to deliver everything. They are now awaiting the second box, which will probably arrive by this weekend. EXCITING! xoxoo
January 26, 2009 I received word that the second pkg. arrived safely in Islamabad and both boxes are being transported towards Askole now. I await word of safe passage. KH
February 9, 2009 The road is buried in snow. Delay expected. KH
April 16, 2009 The road now has mudslides and is still impassable. Have no fear! They will arrive!
We knew that winter would be a challenge. It always is. Love, Kathryn xoxo
Posted on November 21st, 2008 by Kathryn
Filed under: The Scarf Initiative