Photos: A day in the market in the Punjab, Pakistan

Cabbage was definitely in season at the market

Cabbage was definitely in season at the market

The steady procession of people coming to the market made for some beautiful visions. Hope you like this one from the market of Gujranwala, Pakistan

The steady procession of people coming to the market made for some beautiful visions. Hope you like this one from the market of Gujranwala, Pakistan

Men unloading more cabbage from the large trucks and tractors arriving in the morning. in the foreground, some camels are feeding after carrying some loads to Gujranwala market in the Punjab, Pakistan

Men unloading more cabbage from the large trucks and tractors arriving in the morning. in the foreground, some camels are feeding after carrying some loads to Gujranwala market in the Punjab, Pakistan

This woman was on the way to the market as we were getting near. The fog was really dense, and this feels otherworldly

This woman was on the way to the market as we were getting near. The fog was really dense, and this feels otherworldly

A man looking serious at the market in Gujranwala, Punjab, Pakistan. I couldn't resist taking a close-up

A man looking serious at the market in Gujranwala, Punjab, Pakistan. I couldn’t resist taking a close-up

in the morning at Gujranwala vegetable market in Punjab, lots of cabbage is being unloaded to trade and sell

in the morning at Gujranwala vegetable market in Punjab, lots of cabbage is being unloaded to trade and sell

In Pakistan, colourful trucks are the norm on the roads. This one, carrying some potatoes to the market, was just one of many!

In Pakistan, colourful trucks are the norm on the roads. This one, carrying some potatoes to the market, was just one of many!

Photos: Western DR Congo

Kid in Mbanza Ngungu, Western DRC

Kid in Mbanza Ngungu, Western DRC

An agricultural officer at a pest and disease training

An agricultural officer at a pest and disease training

A young woman observing our activities in the field

A young woman observing our activities in the field

Photos: Rwandans in Parc National des Volcans

Kids on a wall in Ruhengeri, Rwanda

Kids on a wall in Ruhengeri, Rwanda

Small Kid looking up at me

Small Kid looking up at me

Kid with sugarcane on his head

Kid with sugarcane on his head

bird of prey on a tree

bird of prey on a tree

Photo: when the sun hits the right spot

My colleagues and myslef were visiting the border between Pakistan and India near Lahore. Everyday, there is a traditional closing of the border ceremony (more pictures to follow on this). I was sitting in the stands, shouting PA-KI-STAN at the top of my voice, and whilst looking around, saw that the spire of the border gates was struck by the sun in the perfect light. hope you enjoy the effect

My colleagues and myslef were visiting the border between Pakistan and India near Lahore. Everyday, there is a traditional closing of the border ceremony (more pictures to follow on this). I was sitting in the stands, shouting PA-KI-STAN at the top of my voice, and whilst looking around, saw that the spire of the border gates was struck by the sun in the perfect light. hope you enjoy the effect

Photo: father and son with maize in Pakistan

Pakistan maize crop clinic Punjab

These two were attending a plant clinic in Bahawalpur district in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The browning leaves on the maize reduces the yield, and they came to the clinic to get a diagnosis and advice on how to reduce their losses. Hopefully the clinic helped, and they are now getting healthier crops! Best of luck to them

Photo: Orange is the new Black

Whilst visiting the work that the Government of Punjab is doing in Bahawalpur district, we went to a fruit and vegetables market in Bahawalpur main bazaar. This trader was located in front of the gates, in front of the banner explaining what our initiative was trying to achieve! He was very loud and friendly and insisted that we buy some of his fruit. I could not resist! They tasted good as well. People in Asia put orange henna dye in their hair for various reasons. One of them is tell the world that they have made a pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest site in Muslim beliefs.

Whilst visiting the work that the Government of Punjab is doing in Bahawalpur district, we went to a fruit and vegetables market in Bahawalpur main bazaar. This trader was located in front of the gates, in front of the banner explaining what our initiative was trying to achieve! He was very loud and friendly and insisted that we buy some of his fruit. I could not resist! They tasted good as well.
People in Asia put orange henna dye in their hair for various reasons. One of them is tell the world that they have made a pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest site in Muslim beliefs.

What do you think of when you think of Afghanistan…

friendly people in a market in Bamyan

friendly people in a market in Bamyan

What do you think of when you think of Afghanistan?
War, Taleban, jihad, deserted mountains, insurgency, war, freedom against oppression, America’s war, Pashtun people, war, war and more war?
First of all, Afghanistan is a country, populated by 32 million people. Yes there are horrible people there, just as there are disgusting human beings in western societies. The lack of a unified justice system and corruption in governments allow them more freedom out there it is true, but I would bet we have just as many dishonest and revolting people in the West as they have. Our society is just better at identifying them and cracking down on them
My point is people are just people, wherever you may go.
What Afghanistan is not, contrary to what media outlets try to make you believe, is a country full of people ready to slit your throat to steal the 10 dollars you have in your wallet, ready to kidnap you because of what your skin colour represents, ready to wage holy war and kill every western or Christian person they see indiscriminately.
This article, http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/25/under-americas-surveillance-dome/ ) a truly well written account of the “rule of law” in USA, shows the bias western media has when commenting on international polemics. I urge you to read it in order for your mind to have that 10 minutes of balance when reacting to news we receive through our little screens on our desks or in our hands.
I cannot write as well as the author of the article above, Rev William E. Alberts, but I echo his sentiments completely. We in the UK are relatively lucky to possess a media that still has an element of freedom to it (although this is being chipped away at gradually), contrary to state and corporate owned media in the US. I am not going to start becoming holier-than-thou in this blog, as this is probably not why you’ve clicked on it in the first place, but I guess my message would be: please please please make an effort to read news that is balanced and not written for political ends. Research all points of views before simply basing your own opinion on what you see in one article or bulletin. The world is not just black, or just white. Every person sees the world and its history in a different way, and the more you speak and understand others’ point of view, the more learned you will become.
Just a thought on a sunny Friday morning…
For your information, when I see Afghanistan, I see kebabs and fruits, old men smoking hashish in the parks, green tea being brewed on street corners, battered old cars that still carry on, black hair and green eyes. Most of them, just like you and me, revere family, love their friends, respect their wives as their culture dictates, play football or cricket in the park on weekends, drink tea and whose first instinct is to be helpful and smiling if someone approaches them.

And although I feel tense when walking around, I wonder how much of this is created in my head to what is actually happening out there…