Saturday, November 03, 2007

November in AFGHANISTAN - to Kunduz

Three Bond Street Theatre members are in Afghanistan to work with an all-girls theatre company in the small city of Kunduz, located in the north of the country.

The flight out of Delhi was delayed 5 hours, so we did not arrive into Kabul until evening which is a hard time to arrive at the Kabul airport, with no lights in the parking lot and 7 large bags of theatrical supplies for only three people to lug, haggling for a taxi in the darkness. The Kabul Airport has improved greatly since the last time we came though - construction is underway! We are staying at the famed/infamous Mustafa Hotel in Kabul and there are a group of Aussies here on vacation, taking in the sights and traveling on local buses. Even the man at the front desk suggested that the drive to Kunduz, through the Salang Pass through the Hindu Kush mountain range, was safe. We hear about the beauty of the drive from everyone, but we do not want to take the risk. As for me, it is always difficult to come back to Afghanistan because of the worry of my family and all of the stories in the newspaper. But once I am here, in the everyday of a country that has everyday just like any other place in the world, I begin to relax. I am very excited about the project to come: working with an all girls theatre group in Kunduz!

Bond Street met the company at the International Theatre Festival of Kabul in 2005 while we were working on “Beyond the Mirror” with Exile Theatre. The girls had natural talent and with no formal training, they were better than many of the student groups from the theatre programs at the University. It is unusual and difficult for women to be on stage in Afghanistan and Bond Street was excited to see an all-girls group, especially from a more conservative area. We met the founder and former director of the company Nassiba in our last trip in May in Mazar-i-Sharif, but were unable to come to Kunduz. Now we are back in Afghanistan to work the young women. I look forward to meeting the group tomorrow and spending the weeks to come working together.

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