Here is out little Pixie, Ashid (19 yrs and 3 ft tall) helping out with a youth theatre workshop on our new stage in the garden of the Yellow House . It is fantastic to begin working with the younger generation of kids who want to be artists in Jalalabad . The older actors and performers are happy to assist and inspire. Ashid is smaller than most 8 year olds and he is famous from TV, so it is like having their favourite star to play with.
Well we finally pitched the Tora Bora Circus Tent at Tora Bora today. We got the tent up and came home to the Yellow House Jalalabad, tonight. Glad to still be alive.
Will return tomorrow to screen the movies and do the shows. Dali the monkey was exceptional in entertaining the children. It was a bad day to go to Tora Bora, because the Americans had attacked two near by villages and killed people and taken others captive. But we got away with it and the kids loved it. In this village there are 200 small kids but no school and not clinic and no doctor within reach and no electricity. They have never seen television or a movie. It is a pro Taliban village but we were allowed to put the tent up and have permission to screen our movies and do a show tomorrow because I once saved one of the village elders. We took a different route back to the way we came as a safety precaution.
We made it to Tora Bora in our blue Russian Truck today. The circus tent was in the back and we put it up in a village with 200 small children who were facinated by my monkey Dali. The landscape on the way to the village is like the moon …. but all round river type rocks on the ground, even to the tops of the highest hills.The old truck broke a fan belt and later the road was so rough the whole engine slipped sideways and we had to use a crowbar to push it back into position.Two nearby villagers were attacked by US forces early in the morning and helicopters were buzzing us. A bunch of people were killed and others taking into custody, so not a good day to do the circus. Now we are back safely at the Yellow House but will head back to TB tomorrow to screen the movies and perform some shows
I am just in from Tora Bora. After the show we gave sweets and candies to the kids. The black turban guy in the background of this shot is a most wanted Taliban leader . He did not come in to see the films or performances but enjoyed the day with his little daughter who loved my monkey Dali.
This is the village chief at Tora Bora . He only let us do the Cinema Circus because I has spontaneously helped one of his people some time ago who needed to go to hospital . The man was dying and I let them have my car. The mercy trip saved the villager’s life. These chiefs are wise men modelled on Solomon. They try to be honest and are incorruptible . I could have offered him $10,000 to do it and he would have refused . He admitted he hated film and TV and would never allow either to be seen by his villagers. He is a total supporter of the Taliban in this. He did not go in to see the screenings or performances but hovered around the outside of the tent. He was happy to see the children so happy .We made a pact and agreed my Yellow House in Jalalabad would be a welcome place for anyone from his village who needed city style help with hospitals or doctors or anything. I really liked him . He called me George and this is rare here – most people either avoid calling me anything or Islamicize George into Jamil or Jamal or somthing like that. Everyone at the Yellow House calls me Boss. George Bush made George anything a negative , especially here.
We pitched the tent in a Taliban Village at Tora Bora. As the day moved on we had some real Talibs visit. Usually there was one that knew one of us. In this photo the guy in the green on my left is someone I have gotten to know over the last year or so. I helped save the life of someone in the village by getting him to a hospital in Jalalabad. These villagers do not have a clinic or a doctor within 5 hours reach . Worse than that they do not have enough education to know about doctors and what they can do. There are 200 kids in this village but no school . I do not know what the kids do all day as they have no toys , do not play games like cricket of soccer and have never seen television or a film . Tomorrow we will sceen our movies and it will be interesting to watch their reactions. I have asked 3 movie stars to come along and talk about what it is to be an actor and show bits of their films. In a society which is as closed as this, the strangers who are permitted to enter are fascinating to all.
This is me with the Village leader where we have put up the tent. He is pro Taliban, hates foreigners and is against film. But he likes me and calls me George with a lot of respect. He is 60 and I am 62 , so I am his senior. I helped get another village elder to a hospital once and he feels he owes me for this. We have the protection of his hospitality. It will be interesting to see if he changes his mind about film once he sees Love City. I think he has been told all films are American propaganda and would never have thought there are films in Pashto language with Afghan cast and stories. On the hill above our tent a house has been destroyed by a recent missile attack from a US predator. Only last night villages close to where our tent it were attacked and people killed. Nothing has come to this village from outside that is friendly until us and out tent and monkey. The day I was there with this elder I found a kid with a broken and cut hand that was going gangreeninous and the fingers would not move – I paid someone to take him to hospital and back. Today we learnt this saved the movement in his fingers and hand. It is this kind of help that makes the villagers love us and be prepared to protect our project and lives.