Reporters on the Job: To report the story on social audit committees in Afghanistan, I traveled to a remote village hours from the nearest highway (read the story here). I sat with hundreds of other villagers as the village leadership explained the details of the various projects that had been implemented.
After the presentations, villagers strode to the front and asked questions or challenged the leaders on various points. After an hour, or so, the questioning finished. I assumed that it was time to go. But then the organizers called me to the stage. I was caught off guard and had no idea what was in store for me, but I thought it probably wasn’t wise to refuse.
As I stepped on stage, the village head handed me a gift – a shawl – and the villagers broke into applause. I was touched, as I have often been during my time in Afghanistan. Afghans who face difficult circumstances and bone-grinding poverty will nonetheless often find a way to welcome a visitor.