The Scarves Arrive in Askole Village!!

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,
Nazir Sabir

The boys in Korfe with their village teacher

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!

That is a purple scarf with a pair of purple mittens on top. Did you make that scarf??

Julie’s scarf arrives!

I’m pretty darn sure that scarf was crocheted by my cousin Julie in Ohio! Oh, how fun to see!

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.

Now, this photo was among those sent. I’m going to say it’s Askole village, as I have seen photos of Askole in the past.

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,
Kathryn xoxoox
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.

Dear Kathryn,

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.

50 Responses to “The Scarves Arrive in Askole Village!!”

  1. Kathryn — I, too, am overwhelmed by the enormity of such a “small thing”. What a difference a little kindness can make. I feel so honoured to have taken part in this project and thank you from the bottom of my heart for orchestrating all the arrangements as you did. May these lovely scarves — knit with hearts and not just hands — give as much warmth to their recipients as that which fills my heart this evening. (And I do see MY scarf among the photos!)

  2. Good evening, Nancy! Isn’t it just amazing? I am SO glad you saw your scarf among such loveliness! Thank you so very much for participating! Love, Kathryn xoxo

  3. How very inspiring, mom! It’s difficult to fathom how a Beautiful project such as this could continue to pay itself forward, but I’m venturing a guess that the Love shall continue to ripple outwards into the hearts of many! Lovely, and oh, so Dear to see these pictures and know that the scarves, mittens and hats have arrived safely half-way across the World! Truly Amazing!
    Many Blessings to you and all who participated!

    Love you,

  4. Kathryn: Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful photos. I’m so happy that I was able to participate; there was a lot of love knitted into these scarves and I’m so touched to see these little girls receiving them. Thank you so much for putting this project together for us; it was an honor to be part of it. Peace and love, Linda

  5. Hi, Antonia! Oh, yes, I can scarcely let myself think beyond this joyous delivery, but I know what you are saying is true–that the ripples will continue in ways we cannot know or count. Blessed be and thank you.
    Love, Mom xoxo

  6. Welcome, Linda. It is my greatest pleasure to be able to share these photos. I have been anticipating them patiently for months, as have we all. What a blessing to have had the support of the kind Nazir Sabir–and of course of each of the many women and men who contributed in various ways. Thank you! Kathryn xoxo

  7. Dearest Kathryn,
    Oh, my eyes are so filled with tears, I can hardly see the keyboard.
    My heart is so full, I am filled with joy.
    Thank you so much Kathryn for bringing me on this journey
    I feel such true emotion and gratitude; I cannot believe how my tears have come and cannot stop.
    Oh, my dear friend, thank you for connecting us all together in this small world;
    Very, very warm and sincere thanks and regards to you, and to all of the people who made this happen.
    yours truly,

  8. Oh, Philip! Now I am crying again, too! Thank you, my dear friend, for your generous support in helping to make this happen! And, yes, to all who contributed our deepest gratitude and love! Isn’t it WONDERFUL?? Warmly, Kathryn xoxo

  9. oh my goodness…i am so overcome by the amount of love coming from this post. what an amazing thing you all did. i’m so very overcome emotionally by it all. i love it..thank you so much for sharing this…

    much love to all who were a part of this incredible gift…

  10. Hi Kathryn, I am just so grateful to our Creator that the scarves made it all that way, and that they are well received. I hope the little girls and their mothers stay warm. Again, thank you for organizing it.~~Dee

  11. Amazing. I had stupidly assumed that I had missed your post of the scarves arriving. I just hadnt taken on board how long it was going to take for them to get there. I think I spotted mine though that may just be wishful thinking. Thank you for inviting us to participation in this wonderful project.

  12. Katherine, I have been following your great project and it is wonderful to read this post, and see the results of your hard work, and other people’s generosity.
    Such a joy.

  13. Hi, Cat–thank you for bearing witness. It all counts! Hugs! Kathryn xoxo

  14. Good Sunday morning, Dee! Yes, no doubt angels attended this project from start to finish. Thank you for being one of them! Love, Kathryn xoxo

  15. Hi, dear Helen–No one could have anticipated how long such a project could have taken. But having read Three Cups of Tea, Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Child’s Thin Air and then Stewart’s The Places in Between, all describing the general terrain, I knew the traversing of the Karakoram Highway was no small task even in the best of times. So happy to report it all worked out well! Thank you for your part in it all. Kathryn xoxo

  16. Hi, Karen, thank you for your kind reflections. So appreciated this morning! Kathryn xoxo

  17. How wonderful Kathryn!

    I can see that it was a very big and exciting thing to have them all come out and gather around to see what you all had sent them!

    I hope that they can provide some comfort to them, and show them that others care about them too.

    God bless you and all those who took part in the efforts. The reward in seeing their faces must be wonderful indeed.


  18. Good morning, Lori! Yes, I’m going to spend more time with the photos and see if I can imagine myself in the room. I’m certain I would be weeping for joy. I’m deeply grateful to all who hearkened to this call. It was only possible because of all who participated. Love, Kathryn xoxo

  19. This is so wonderful!! I hadn’t found you yet and therefore didn’t participate in the Scarf Initiative (though I would if you did it again!). Having read Three Cups of Tea last year, this is particularly meaningful. Great job, ladies!

  20. Hi, Green Bean! So glad you read Three Cups of Tea so you can really appreciate this effort! Thank you!
    Kathryn xoxo

  21. It feels so amazing to be sitting in Ohio and know that I have been part of an effort to touch children half way around the world. Thank you, Kathryn for spearheading this outreach effort. It was an amazing work of coordination and pluck. To all of us who were involved, WE DID IT! Seldom in our lives will we get the chance to show kindness to people living so far away in such difficult circumstances. While many charities ask for our monitary donations, this effort was different. This time we got to give something of our selves, our talents, and our concepts of beauty as well as a practical contribution. I expect I’ll remember this for the rest of my life. My only hope is that it is the beginning of an outreach effort, and not a one-time experience. Hugs to you, Kathryn, for taking this on.

  22. Hi, Julie, The word PLUCK is standing out at me. 🙂 And, yes, we collectively did it! You’ve articulated this experience really well. I’m still digesting it. I’m seeing that on this end it was primarily women and feminine energy and on that end it was primarily men and masculine energy. (Most trekkers are men with good reason.) Now I’m asking myself about the energy of the region. My first impulse is to say that the energy of K2 is feminine and there are a whole range of snippets of archetypal poetic thoughts that come with that “realization” as I ponder the men who Must Scale Her. Remember all these children live within her energy field. But if it’s so she is a very harsh impartial force to be reckoned with. I’m certain this is a departure from your thoughts, Julie. Thank you for your generous contributions. I have no idea yet if there will be more. God only knows. In gratitude, love, Kathryn xoxo

  23. wow, wow, and triple wow. I can only imagine the pride and joy you must feel at having completed your heartfelt task which started at least a year ago…. bravo, K. Standing ovation from Maui. I sat rapt with the photos and the letters from Nazir. All who participated should be so very proud of this accomplishment. The wonder it must bring to the people of that region. HUZZAH!!!!
    I also enjoyed reading all the posts above – both from the people who participated and those who are “witnessing”, as you put it. The ripple effect is dramatic, and it reminds me that we are ALWAYS in the ripple effect of one another – we‘re just not always in such a clear awareness of it. Clearly, the gift so many participated in, and that you, K., spearheaded, has been for far more than the Pakistani villagers. I suspect the “story” of this event will ring for years to come, and perhaps even generations in Pakistan.

  24. Isn’t it a miracle. From one thought in your mind, to you putting it out there, and so many responding, and then all the way to a remote part of the world. Aren’t people wonderful?!

    Thanks, Kathryn. You’ve widened my world.

  25. Wow, Pamela. Thank you so very much. I’m kind of in awe of the whole process and I think I really do need to digest it fully to glean all I can learn from this experience. With the advent of social media to be able to effect such an adventure and “never leave home” is pretty amazing. AND it leaves much to the imagination. I suspect our world as we know it will become ever more “like this.” It has an almost surreal quality but is so deeply felt in the heart. So, interesting dynamics! And happy, too! Love, Kathryn xooxoxo

  26. Yes, CurtissAnn, it is a miracle, indeed. So many unseen forces beckoning and binding the way. I’m deeply touched by your last comment. Thank you. I’m honored. Love, Kathryn xoxo

  27. Kathryn, Many thanks for having the vision and inspiration to pursue this wonderful project. I cannot imagine how it must feel to be on the receiving end of love passed from unknown hands. I am so happy that I could participate and am greatly warmed to imagine one youngster wearing my scarf during the cold months. Much love to you and may God Bless. SG

  28. Good evening, Shady Gardener! Many many thanks for joining in this amazing venture. So appreciated!
    Kathryn xoxo

  29. Kathryn: Many thanks for putting this together. I am proud to have been a part of this venture. Please let me know if you decide to do another as I would be happy to participate. “one small step for mankind”

  30. Good morning, Karen. You can be proud of having participated and I am deeply grateful. If there is another iteration I will advise. Thanks! Kathryn xoxo

  31. Kathryn, how excited I was to learn the scarves had finally reached their destination. I would faithfully go to your website each day hoping for some news. How wonderful it makes one feel to have participated in a project that has brought smiles to so many children so far away. The pictures are truly the story behind it all and makes me glad to have been a part of your dream. Thanks for that opportunity to share with you.

  32. Good evening, Betsy. As you can imagine it has given me the greatest joy to share this wonderful news!
    Thank you for your kind words. Kathryn xoxo

  33. Kathryn, I just returned from vaction and your email was the first I opened. So happy to see that they made it to the girls. Yes the red scarves were from Texas. My mom made them. I saw mine in a picture too. This is just wonderful. Thank you for the opportunity to participate.


  34. Oh, hi, Debbie! I was so thrilled to see your mom’s scarves in that first photo. I thought she would get such pleasure from that. Thank you so much to you both for your generous contributions! Kathryn xoxo

  35. Dearest Kathryn ~ if you had done nothing else in your life, this moment would fill your heart with joy. Thanks to you and many gifted knitters, long arms and kind hearts warm many. A beautiful story with a beautiful ending … as good as life gets!

  36. Hello, dear Joey–made all the more dear by being received into your warm and loving heart and mirrored back. May the ripples abound. Thank you so much. Love, Kathryn xoxo

  37. Kathryn~This is such an absolutely beautiful & amazing accomplishment. I am so deeply moved by your generosity & passion for this project. HUGE & wonderful! Thank you for being the beautiful inspiration that you are!

  38. Oh, thank you, Cyndee! I’m so glad you came by and read about this. This happened before we met you!
    Big hugs! Kathryn xoxo

  39. Kathryn,
    I am amazed that they got there as quickly as they did! I was delighted to participate in this remarkable project & have wonderful memories of knitting like a fiend on the dock at the cottage – staring out at the lake and the fall colours – thinking about the journey the scarf would take and who might be kept a little warmer in winters to come. Bless you.

  40. Hi, Barbara! What a lovely memory. Thank you so much for sharing and for participating in this amazing endeavor! Kathryn xoxo

  41. What a wonderful project this is – and what an inspiration to see that an idea tenaciously followed can lead to such a marvellous outcome! Well done to you and to all the knitters involved!

  42. Good morning, Imelda! This was the result of so many people coming together with good intentions. Thanks for your kind acknowledgments! Kathryn xoxo

  43. Kathryn,

    Apologies for the delay in getting here – it’s wonderful to see the scarves in their rightful home at last after such a long and difficult journey 😀

    I feel privileged to have taken part and thanks so much for all your organisation!

  44. Hi, VP! No apology needed! Yes, isn’t it thrilling? Thank you so very much for sending that lovely soft blue scarf to the project. I take pleasure in knowing some little girl in Askole is wearing it this winter! Hugs! Kathryn xoxo

  45. Wonderful work you have done in those remote areas of Skardu valley

  46. Welcome, Karim. It’s very special to receive your acknowledgment. Thank you. Kathryn xoox

  47. Very generous help to the remote people of Baltistan. God bless you all..

  48. Hi, Nasir Hussain, Welcome and thank you very much. It was a pleasure.
    Kathryn xoxo

  49. Respectable Kathryn Hall,
    Thank you very much for sharing this pictures and I personally very thanks full to you for the distribution of gift among the people/students.
    Muhammad Iqbal Asko

  50. Hi, Muhammad Iqbal Askole, It was our pleasure. Thank you. Kathryn

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