September 05, 2011
On May 27, at the crack of dawn, an isolated corner of the Afghan mountains was buzzing with excitement. 120 villagers from six communities eagerly hiked up steep trails and converged to begin a day’s work. But this was no ordinary work day. This was the beginning of a road -- a pathway to hope for a region long neglected by aid organizations. It was also the fulfillment of a promise. Noshaq’s promise.
Noshaq’s journey to help this far-flung region of Afghanistan began in the summer of 2010. Our objectives were simple: (1) to find an isolated, impoverished community forgotten by other humanitarian organizations, and (2) to give hope to this community through sustainable solutions. The village of Khermanuk was just such a place. After meeting with local village elders and identifying an access road as the top development priority, we promised to return. And that’s just what we did.
Thanks to your generous donations, our team returned to the Afghan mountains in May 2011 to make our promises to Khermanuk come true. We purchased supplies, hired more staff, and then made the long and exciting journey to Khermanuk.
But getting to Khermanuk was no easy task. Here, our staff took turns riding donkeys and horses as the terrain became more rugged.As we rode on, we met villagers along the way. It was exciting to see familiar faces and to sense their excitement about the road project.
After reaching the upper part of Khermanuk, we met with village chiefs from surrounding communities to negotiate the logistics of the road project. The support of community elders was an important prerequisite. Not only did we need to hear their advice and opinions. We also needed them to bring back news of the project to their villagers, who would provide the necessary manpower needed to construct the road.
We then re-measured the road route using a meter-wheel for extra precision. Pushing the wheel up and down the steep trail was great exercise. Even better, it provided entertainment for curious onlookers who had never seen such a device before!
Finally it was time to begin! Approximately 120 villagers showed up to help.
Villagers worked tirelessly everyday from 6 AM to 6 PM, using picks, shovels, and even oxen to shape the new road. Their enthusiasm and sense of community was infectious.
Slowly, the road began to take shape as the narrow mountain trail was converted into a 5-meter wide road. There was a tremendous amount of dirt to move, but the workers labored tirelessly to finish in record time.
The road was completed on June 21, a mere 25 days after the project began. This is a true testament to the determination and strength of 120 hard-working villagers and their inspirational leaders.
Abdul Hakim (regional leader) and Sayed Akbar (project manager) stand proudly by the project completion sign.
Let these images sear into your mind and stay with you forever. And then, remember that you, as a generous supporter, made this project possible! Because of your support, over 6,000 people now have a road and a new path to opportunity. This project may seem like a simple one, but it is already making a positive impact. Other humanitarian agencies, previously unable to access this region, have now been able to effectively implement other projects in the area thanks to the new road. This is a life-changer for impoverished villagers long neglected by the humanitarian community. In the future, this road will allow villagers to export and trade products more easily with other communities, and Noshaq has already begun researching viable industry opportunities that will inject much-needed income into this region’s starved economy.
In our most recent visit to Khermanuk, one villager told us, “We thought that building this road was impossible. After all, the terrain is so difficult! But your office came and showed us that it could happen after all, and all of us are truly grateful.” That’s what Noshaq is all about: turning the impossible into possibilities of hope. We may not be able to completely eradicate Afghanistan’s poverty or solve the country’s political turmoil. But we’re creating glimmers of hope in places like Khermanuk, and that makes it all worth it. Thank you for joining us on this journey.