One of the joys of being a tie between Americans and Afghans is seeing the cross-fertilization of ideas: how an American child’s idea can spark an Afghan child’s idea, both of which lead to fun and learning.
In the spring of 2005, Budd showed a group of American children a photo of the school Trust in Education had just help fund in Lalander. He has not forgotten their first questions: “Where is the playground? Where are the swings?” The school had none.
So when Budd revisited the villagers in spring of 2006, he asked the teachers whether they wanted a playground. They did and were very excited. Before he left, TIE delivered swings, a see saw, monkey bars, a slide, and equipment for a volleyball court. That day, an Afghan boy stood, thanked Budd for the playground equipment, and bravely asked the next question: “Is there any way we could have a soccer field? We love to play soccer!”
Trust in Education investigated the cost, and when we learned a soccer field could be built for $500, the soccer field was built before Budd left. Thus, two children, one American and one Afghan, sparked a “play strategy” that we now promote in other villages. This strategy greatly enhances education, because enrollment and attendance go up in schools when fun is introduced into the curriculum. More importantly, the children are happier and healthier.
Since 2005, TIE has funded the construction of two playgrounds with swings, a see saw, monkey bars, a slide and volleyball court. TIE has also built soccer fields in three villages. (See The challenges of creating a soccer field.) TIE is currently supporting four soccer programs—three for boys and one for girls. (See Afghan girls play soccer too!) Where possible, TIE has provided uniforms, shin guards, shoes and goalposts, donated by families in Lafayette, CA and the retail store Sports Basement.
TIE also supports inter-village soccer play by providing the buses to make “away games” possible. In November 2010 the teams from Tangi Saidan and Lalander met on the field built for Qallah Loqman. TIE provided the bus for Lalander’s team while Tangi Saidan’s team walked to Qallah Loqman. They battled to a 2-2 tie. The total cost for the bus was $33. For $33, two people can have a pizza dinner, or sponsor an inter-village soccer game!! Over and over again we discover how little it takes to bring joy into the lives of others.
For links to more stories about our play strategy: