Quiet tears of joy ran down my face this morning in happy little rivulets as I opened my email from Nazir Sabir. We all have been patiently waiting for this moment for months! Prayers were uttered frequently that it would at last be so: the nearly 100 scarves we all so lovingly knitted and crocheted last winter for The Scarf Initiative would arrive into the hands of the children of Askole village in the far northeast region of Pakistan, high, high, high in the mountains at the end of the Karakoram Highway, last stop before K2, second tallest mountain in the world! No small feat!! And, dearest readers, they have at last safely arrived! We did it!! Those tears flowed for a good half hour as I poured over the many photos sent to me. Below is the accompanying letter from Nazir Sabir, whose nephew made the treacherous drive from Skardu, where the scarves had been stored over winter, awaiting the time when the Karakoram Highway would no longer be closed first due to ice and snow and later because of dangerous mudslides. At last the risk was lessened sufficiently to make the trek! And so they did! Here is a photo of part of their trek, the river that runs along the Karakoram Highway.
Is it not precious to see the girls in the photo above, holding purple mittens (from Ross!) and the red scarves from Texas? Perhaps in these photos you will spot one you made. I do recognize a few! So exciting!
As earlier informed we are pleased to update you that scarves have been distributed among the children of Askole and Korfe villages. Please find enclosed herewith the photographs for your kind information as desired and I hope they serve the purpose. As you can see most of the “girls” still remain shy to camera despite all the tourism flowing in/out of Askole! But few cute girls were caught while receiving the scarves…
I was quite surprised, but delighted, to learn they had distributed part of the scarves to Askole, as expected, and part in Korfe village, which had, in fact, been my original intent and vision but that goal had not met with support through the venues I originally explored. Readers of Three Cups of Tea will recall that Korfe village was the village into which Greg Mortensen stumbled where his life was saved by the villagers, and where he later returned to build the first of many schools for girls in Pakistan.
Opening my U-Haul box in Korfe village!
I wrote back to Nazir Sabir to clarify which photos had been taken in Askole, which in Korfe. Here’s what he said:
Dear Kathryn Hall,
Thanks for your kind acknowledgement. It is indeed very touching that you are moved with the photographs and surely your readers, too. The school with blue doors is in Askole and the other one is Korfe. You have rightly said the older man is a teacher and other notables of the village were present during the distribution as such an occasion is unusual and turned out quite an event as you can see from the pictures. We would be most pleased to view the link once up and read the comments of your readers. We really appreciate your kind words and it is a privilege for us to be a part of this noble task. We wish you the best in your endeavors.
Thanks and best regards,
If you look very carefully there are two girls toward the back on the right. These girls are part of the other half of the group, the female half. I find it fascinating. Here are more of the girls and women. They all seem very interested, and perhaps a bit in awe.
From this angle you can see the men and boys to the left (and the skylight on left that we saw in previous photo), right? I’m not sure if we are in a classroom or some kind of community room, but clearly they have been asked to gather together for the special delivery of the scarves.
Now, I’m going to shift back to Askole village and you will notice a slight energy change. It is very charming, as Nazir Sabir has said, that the girls are very shy. Notice the one with a scarf covering her head above. (I know exactly who made that navy scarf–a loving woman from India who contributed many scarves to this project!) OK, I will share with you many more.
Ready for distribution
These ten men were very organized and dedicated to the distribution of the scarves, bless their hearts. I love the colors we sent juxtaposed to everything else in the environment!
Girls lined up to receive their scarves!
I know for a fact that striped scarf came from Utah. Do you recognize one of yours?
A happy grateful woman receives her new scarf. So endearing. And that man has his hand on a scarf that I know came from North Carolina. I’m sure. Can you let yourself imagine the miracle of what we have all accomplished? In the midst of one of the most troubled spots on the planet Earth, dear darling beloved readers, we have made a way for goodness. And it was received and blessed by the very goodhearted Nazir Sabir whose family and associates made our dream a reality in spite of the treachery involved. And make no mistake about that. Even in the best of times, well, not something you would jump at traversing most likely.
I do want to say that I am happy to report however, that Nazir Sabir has assured me that the brave adventurous mountaineer community continues to sign up for treks in Pakistan. They are an amazing lot, and Nazir Sabir, head of the Alpine Club of Pakistan is at the forefront. I feel such a connection with Pakistan that if I were a very young woman I’d be on my way sometime in my life. Those mountains are one of Earth’s sacred holy treasures.
If you want the full effect, Google Earth Askole. Julie and I did that last winter. Oh, my! You will see what it is we have done combining all of our love and creativity–and the monies you all sent for Federal Express charges and the duty charges levied by the Pakistani government. Oh, yes, dears. And we did it.
Here is the last photo I’m sharing with you, of the girls hiding their (delighted) faces as they sit among each other sharing their new treasure. Be very proud of yourselves. We have planted love on the other side of the Earth in a troubled spot. My very deepest thanks to each of you who helped make this happen. There are so many of you and I will hold you each in my heart forever.
Little girls in Askole village with their new warm scarves
Love and many heartfelt hugs and blessings,
June 15th–I have received the following email from Mariassunta, the Italian doctor who runs the small Askole Medical Clinic. She is only there during the warmer months. An Askole man and his wife run the clinic throughout the year. I had been in touch with Mariassunta periodically throughout this journey. Here is what she tells me.
I am happy for your success. When the people distribute the scarves I was at Askole. They are really beautiful and made with very nice colurs [sic] and the girls showing me them were very happy. This year the lady that was with me at Askole made the girls learn to knit and hopefully they will begin soon to make pulls and scarves by themselves.
My best greetings and thanks for this gift to the girls of those remote villages.
Posted on June 13th, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: The Scarf Initiative