March 30th, 2010

March 30th, 2010

March 30th, 2010 150 150 Comfort Aid International
Afghanistan Trip, May 25 – June 04, 2010
There are some that have shown interest in joining me for the trip to Afghanistan interior this May / June; maximum chartered flight can accommodate is 5 including me.  Well, the plans are now firm and following schedule should prevail, insha’Allah:
  • May 25 – Meet at Kabul Airport; tour Chandaawal Water Distribution Project, rest.
  • May 26 – Fly to YKW, drive to Sacheck, visit Imam Sajjad (A) Clinic, rest.
  • May 27 – Drive to Sulekh, rest.
  • May 28 – Participate in marriage ceremonies of 59 Sadaat couples, inspect Sadaat Housing project site, rest.
  • May 29 – Drive to Belkhaab, rest.
  • May 30 – Inspect water distribution project, rest.
  • May 31 – Drive to Mazaar e Sheriff, rest.
  • June 01 – Visit Mazaar of Imam Ali (A), as per some local beliefs and time permitting, visit deep water well projects.
  • June 02 – Return to Kabul, rest.
  • June 03 – BIG day, participate in celebrating the birthday of Sayyeda Fatemah (A) and grand opening of Imam Hussein (A) High School.
  • June 4 – Return to respective homes.
I must have your firm commitment no later than April 14 – passport copies, advance payment of USD950 – this is to cover advance booking for chartered flight(s) to Yaw Kawlang, rental of vehicles for the drive to Sacheck, Suleckh, Belkhaab and Mazaar e Sheriff and flight back to Kabul and local hotel arrangements.  Visas are your responsibility, easily available at the nearest Afghanistan embassy / consulate near you.  If one is not in your country, come to Dubai (from where you will probably catch the flight to Kabul anyway) and you can obtain one the same day you apply, if early.Please note, understand and accept that security situation in Afghanistan, Kabul in particular, is dicey.  We will not stay in hotels in Kabul, rather in neighborhood homes of  local Momeneen. Sanitary conditions are not what you expect; especially in remote areas we visit.  You will sleep on carpets, use toilets under the sky and eat very basic food at times.  The drives will be long and uncomfortable most times; there will be no cell phone accessibility most places we visit.  Although the going will be tough, I promise an adventure of a lifetime, peace in your heart and stark reality of how bloody lucky we all are.  This is not to scare you but to make you aware of what to expect, so you are well prepared.

Please bring adequate routine medication for headache, stomach ills and your own prescription medication; you will not find them in Afghanistan.  Please bring pump soap and a bar as well; Granolla bars if you are a finicky eater.  Although we are going in springtime, nights and early mornings will be freezing; bring a warm jacket.  Again, April 14 deadline is very critical.

I have blogged my March 12 – 15 trip report to Kabul here; you may want to read it.


Sirsi Orpahange opening:
We will, insha’Allah officially open Zahra Boys Home in Sirsi, UP, India on Imam Ali (A) birthday, Rajab 13 (June 26).  Open invitation for anyone interested in spending 3 days in rural India; advance notice required please.  Attached few photos of WIP. 


Nagram Housing Project – An update:
CIA is happy to report we have found sponsors for 6 homes out of total 13 needed for Nagram housing project.  This very poor remote fishing village 300 miles from Hyderabad suffered devastating floods last year that has crippled this small community.  Alhamd’Allah the government has granted small plots to these people but they must begin construction to qualify.  A USD1,200 investment per family is urgently needed for the remaining 7 families.  Please help us relieve their distress.  USD8,400 required by April 15.


Your contributions at work:
Like I do sometimes, here is a list of sample cases handled last week; this is a typical week of how CAI disburses your contributions:

  1. A desperate mum and 3 daughters whose husband has deserted tries to commit suicide but are saved by intensive poison detoxification.  Now living on the street, they approach CAI and request about USD550 for deposit on a rental home.  Funds paid out of sadeqa funds.
  2. 16 year old sadaat daughter of a poor widow in her 3rd year of computer course unable to pay USD500 fees and risk losing her seat; funds paid to the school from sehme sadaat fund.
  3. A desperate poor lady after chemotherapy treatment (paid from sadeqa funds earlier) wants medication of USD66 for 9 months to complete treatment; funds approved for six months out of sadeqa and case to be reviewed after 6 months.
  4. Tuition fees of USD140 paid from sehme sadaat funds for a boy whose father cannot continue with the burden.  The father works as a beedi maker and earns about USD55 a month.
  5. Treatment for young Mirza Ali, 16, who has a hole in his heart will go through urgent surgery in Kolkota as this is a life / death case.  Ali is an orphan without father and mother already caring for 2 younger siblings by himself.  Jazaak’Allah to the single donor who came to Ali’s rescue in time.
  6. Home construction approved for 3 poor and destitute families with tin hovels that flood every monsoon rains, 2 (sadaat) in Malaad slum and 1 (non-sadaat) in Govendhi slum.  USD2,500 each home approved from sadeqa and housing fund.

These are 6 sample cases out of 11 approved and funds distributed last week.   These cases are in India only; Afghanistan cases handled separately.


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