When I visited Afghanistan in 2003, one of the things that impressed me was how happy the children were. Everywhere that I went I saw children smiling, singing songs and flying kites (music and kite flying were banned under the Taliban) and even though they were living in conditions that in the West would be described as squalid, they were happy. After decades of war and Taliban rule (they were ousted from Kabul in November 2001) you could sense a feeling of freedom in the air, despite the fact that much of the country was in ruins and its infrastructure destroyed. When I stopped on the road up one of the mountains overlooking Kabul, these kids appeared, and the boy in the middle performed a little dance for my camera his sister on the left was too shy to join him though.
The children in the right seem preoccupied in their discussion I was a little concerned that the small boy on the far right was standing on the edge of a sheer 50 ft drop but I suppose they do that every day. What was of even more concern was the amount of live ammunition that is still scattered over this mountainside (this particular mountain was used to shell the city of Kabul by rival mujaheddin factions on many occasions) but I suppose the children have learnt to differentiate between live shells and empty shells (of which there are hundreds of thousands littering the landscape). I was told that there was so much live ammunition still lying around on the sides of the mountains overlooking Kabul, that it will take years to find and clear it all. The children live in the very basic mud brick homes that you see being reconstructed on the side of the mountain. There is no water or electricity, and no toilets (they use the side of the road) so it is a very basic and poor existence. But still the children are happy. What a contrast to some of the spoilt kids that you see in many western countries, who scream and shout when they cant have the latest electronic toy or one more ride in the theme park.
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ChrisJ (100066) 2005-08-11 8:40
A superb daily life shot, with an excellent high pov. The smiles are a bonus! Well done.
Fis2 (86751) 2005-08-11 8:49
I like this Daily Life shot. Good composition and colours.
gaby (19819) 2005-08-11 15:27
Hi David great - I like this shot - the technical quality (sharpness, DOF, compo) is very high -
pnphan (3957) 2005-08-11 19:01
I agree with you. Kids in many western countries are so spoil, but i guess it all came down to how parents raising their kids. This series pictures of your not only show how brave you were being there to show us these view
thanks for sharing David
erdna (5711) 2005-08-11 22:55
A very good picture complemented by a very informative write-up. I thank you for that. The taller boy is wearing shoes and a new pair!
sharkattack (268) 2005-08-14 4:11
Like a Magnum shot David.....all details are amazing.....well done
kensimage (8561) 2005-08-21 23:08
Wow, this is a great shot, David! I really like how the colorful human foreground contrasts with the uniformly gray surroundings.
Regarding being "poor but happy", my impression is always that the really tough part about being poor is not having a safety net. The healthy kids are genuinely smiling and happy like the ones here, but "sick" of course can be all too synonymous with "dying."
What took you to Afghanistan?
Balthazar (222) 2005-12-06 5:13
This is a great image.
I love the feeling of joy that the boy shows in the middle.
I like the way that the DoF captures the details of the buildings in the hillside giving a great enviromental portrait.
pascalmoret (1711) 2005-12-08 15:08
Hi David. Excellent daily life shot, and it's good to see children smiling. Good composition and very useful note. Was it difficult to travel ?
Theana (623) 2006-04-14 13:46
You are just SO right... These children look much happier than many Western kids, although one would expect it to be the other way round. It is great to see pictures like that and get some positive impressions other than the "war news" from the media. It must have been quite an experience for you to go there. Did you show the image to the boys??