High up in the dry mountainous terrain of central Afghanistan nestled on the slopes of a mountain called Father Mountain is the village of Sheldon*. The air is thin and winters are long and brutal.
The people here are Hazara. For centuries they have suffered as a minority group looked down upon by many Afghans, persecuted for generations. Traditionally they have also been overlooked by aid groups which reached out to people in more troubled areas.
The people of Sheldon patiently work their land in the same way they have done for centuries, toiling with oxen and wooden plows. Rain-fed wheat and livestock rearing are the primary livelihood activities. This subsistence is economically vulnerable to drought induced crop failure which results in household food shortages. The introduction of drought resistant seeds would lessen the risk of food insecurity.
One of our first goals was to help the village pipe water from a mountain spring down into the village. No longer do women and children have to hike up the valley to fetch clean water for household use.
“Qatraqatra, daryamesha,” is an Afghan proverb which means ‘drop by drop a river is made’.
*For purposes of security and well-being, “Sheldon” is a pseudonym of the village being helped by this project.