Another update from Hels Bels :-)

Hello all you biker folks!!

Am writing this on word at the mo, stuck in a horrendous traffic jam in Kabul! At the moment it’s wall to wall trucks, cars and vans sounding their horns, so this is just the time I wish I was on a bike again and could navigate around it!! The weather turned today and it’s a lot chillier. Mind you it gets down to minus 27 in the winter, but lots of sun, so that’s something.

Last week I was in the west of the country. It was very interesting visiting the projects there and seeing the impact in the community. I met some disabled people now in employment and running their own shops, plus a woman who was previously so ashamed of her disability she couldn’t even say hello – now she is a computer teacher. I was also able to meet quite a number of Afghan people who have been trained as physiotherapists and are working in the district hospitals and rural communities. Some of the projects which were previously supported by our charity are now entirely run by local Afghan people with disabilities and funded by the community. I’m really impressed with the dedication of many Afghan people who want to rebuild the country and support the reconstruction. They often work in dangerous situations, as local NGO workers (especially women) are targets

The west was more relaxed than Kabul. We arrived at the airport, which was a field, under the eyes of the Afghan Army, checked in by throwing our luggage onto a truck and went to numerous huts for security checks. We then waited all day for the plane to leave. However, finally am back in the capital, with all the tenseness and heightened security prevalent at the moment. Apparently things have changed a lot in Kabul recently with the deteriorating security. Two nights ago an expatriate was kidnapped in the city, but we have not heard any more details as it is being kept out of the news pending negotiations.

It is a strange existence here – a real mixture of highs and lows. Still, it’s been an amazing detox, haven’t had an alcoholic drink or a roll up since 9th September!!

Ride safe – keep the biking spirit alive. Can’t wait for my first leave when I’ll be back on two wheels again!! Miss it big time.


Good to hear you are doing well Hels.

Get your ass safely back here and onto 2 wheels

I don’t ever want to see you post that you have been kidnapped. If I do I will have to ride over there and give you a slap! :smiley:

Sounds like you are having an exciting time at least. Coming back to blightly will seem rather tame. Save safe Hels, and continue to help make Afghanistan a better place.

I love the casual way you speak of dangers that most of us would be completely freaked by! I guess you just have to get used to them and get on with the job in hand – I’ll bet your resting heartrate is a touch higher than it was in London?? :slight_smile:

Stay safe.

it is said that Kabul has the most chaotic traffic in the world(apart from my hometown and somewhere in Pakistan:)) this is a better read than the BBC correspondents’ despatches:).

I cannot help feeling the situation there could be worse, where Americans and nato may invade Pakistan if the situation is out of control there. And it seems quite likely, when America tried to install Ms Buttho in Musharaf’s place. Now it is Buttho’s husband, Mr. 10% in charge. If Mr. 10% is killed by radicals(the chance is bigger than a biker having an emergency stop in London), Pakistan instead of Iran, is the next target for the US to invade.

Nice to hear from your Hels :slight_smile: Have you learnt much of the local language ?

Nice one Hels. Hope everything continues to go smoothly. :slight_smile:

Cheers folks - no worries about me being kidnapped - I have an information sheet which tells me what to do if such a situation arises:D

It doesn’t actually feel dangerous at all, it just feels like anywhere else. Today, driving back from one of the projects, there was the usual wall to wall traffic, people shopping in the market, goats and tents parked up on the scrub land by the road, big government buildings intermingled with little roadside shops, everyone just going about their lives. I feel that maybe I should be scared, going through checkpoints and all this stuff about it being the start of the ‘kidnapping season’, (the winter is the time for kidnaps I have been told, as it’s more difficult to engage in other activities such as lying in wait to ambush vehicles and conduct suicide bombing when it’s deep snow) but to be honest, it just feels like any other run down bustling city.

We have a Dutch lady staying in the guest house at the moment, who has lived here sometime and has worked in women’s prisons. She was explaining that many women have been put in prison for leaving their husbands. When she was discussing it with some Afghan women at her office, they said: ’ Well of course women should not be allowed to leave their husbands! If women weren’t put in prison, well, I’d leave my husband, Fatima would leave hers, we would all be leaving our husbands, so of course it’s not allowed!’

Anyway BB Monk I agree with your statements, an assassination could be on the cards.

Sid, from your signature, I just wondered if you had read ‘King Leopold’s Ghost?’

Anyway, that’s all for now! Happy biking xxxxxxxxx

It’s kinda comical and sad at the same time - the women are not ready to make the next logical leap - e.g. perhaps I should be allowed to leave my husband! :slight_smile:

I haven’t read this book Hels - but it seems to chime with Heart of Darkness in it’s critique of western colonialism (specifically Belgian) in the Congo. Thanks for mentioning it - I’ll check it out.

Remember to stick to the security advice - if you don’t there are people here such as me and Kevsta who will be very annoyed with you! :slight_smile:

…Sounds a bit like Wednesday eve at BM.:slight_smile:

Hiya Helen, great to hear from you again.x Really interesting to get a view of day to day life in Kabul, the way everyone goes about their business despite the fighting in and around the city.

We all have a winge and moan, about really pointless things, but they’re nothing compared to what the people you know have to deal with.

Keep up the good work Hels we’re proud of you.

Stay safe and hope to see you in a couple of months.:wink:



good to hear from you :slight_smile:

Cheers folks!!!

I look forward to hearing your biking tales too - will have forgotten how to ride a bike soon and will have to go right back to a 125 again:D

Yes, will be on leave end Nov for a couple of weeks, so have booked the flight from Dubai to the UK, but not from Kabul to Dubai as yet. But will be back in Afghanistan mid December, so no Christmas in the UK.

It’s getting dark here now, is quite windy and chilly at the moment.

Enjiy BM tonight, have coffee on me (I have not drunk for so long, a beer on me might be a bit too much)


Hels, you ok? I don’t like the look of this -

best get one of those post-box outfits and act the part, no I’m not kidding :frowning:

just seen this on the beeb and I held my breath for a second…I hope you are ok hels!!! Take care of yourself!!

Blimey, scary stuff, hope your doing ok out there!! As 7wheels said, maybe your should start wearing sa burkha so that you don’t look out of place!!

Thankfully this isn’t Hels. I have been concerned since I first saw this on the news this morning.

The poor girl who died was called Gayle Williams. Brave soul working in one of the most dangerous places on the planet to try have help make it a better place. My she rest in peace, and I hope that hers and others actions and dedication make the world a better place.

Hels, you be extra careful and remain safe. We want you back.

My heart missed a beat when I saw that headline.

Mine too, and for a split second I couldn’t remember Helen’s name which made it worse:crying:

Please stay safe Hels xxx

RIP Gayle Williams. Very tragic and terrible for the family.

We heard about this this morning, in fact a friend of mine heard the shots fired from where she works. It took place right near a place I go to for evening kebabs a lot and near one of our projects too. I was working all day, so have been distracted a bit from it, but it has made everyone feel a bit strange.

There are a lot of unreported incidents - kidnaps and attempted kidnaps, plus kidnaps of prominent Afghans etc. But this was a new development, as the woman was targeted in the capital for being a western female working for an aid organisation.

Still thanks for your good wishes and I will stay safe and return to these shores in one piece.

Hels xx

R.I.P Gayle

Keep your head down out the Hels and come back to us in one piece