Thursday, 15 April 2010


A few days ago I received an e-mail from my friend Wolfgang Mertens, communications director of the German humanitarian organization Friedensdorf (Peace Village). The headline was: Ronald is dead. And continuated : Dear Paco.Today I have to tell you, that Ronald died after suffering from lung cancer more than one year. He was out of duty since months and last Friday he took his last breath.

It has been a hard blow. Ronald was the director of The Peace Village and in the summer of 2003 I travelled with him to Kabul for a report entitled Mission in Kabul published in The Magazine of la Vanguardia that won the prize for best solidarity report ,issued by the Generalitat of Catalonia, For the best solidarity published story.


In it I wrote about Ronald:

Ronald, 52, strongly built, gray-bearded Taliban-style, since 1988 without interruption he travels to Afghanistan to look for his Afghan children. Never since then has missed his appointment. Four times a year at first when he travelled on commercial aircrafts, and then twice, in summer and winter, every six months in the flight chartered by the Peace Village. Ronald has carried on doing his job independently of the barrage of political changes that have rocked the country of Afghanistan.
Ronald began with the Soviets in '88, followed with Nadjibulla communist government in 89, with the Mujahedeen in 92, with the Taliban in '96 and with the government imposed by the Americans in 2001. He did not stop in 1990 when there was fighting around the airport and he had to led the thirty children returning home through the deserted terminal, while he counted more than 25 shells exploding nearby. He left the Afghan capital in 1992, with passports unfilled, with the promise of filling them when his return from Germany, because they were fighting on the Avenue of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Continued in 2000, after the Ariana Boeing 727 full of children make an emergency landing in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, on his way back to Kabul, with the front wheel crossed and locked. He waited in 2000 until the German hospital where he underwent surgery for a serious illness, and in which she underwent a double incision length and breadth of the stomach, give him the high, to fly in front of the charter the very next day.


And I ended the article with:
What seems of an absolute certainty, is that after 6 months, despite the freezing winter of Kabul, although the government changes or re-beat the drums of war in the Afghan capital, the Village of Peace, with Ronald in front, again will keep his Kabul appointment with the Afghan children, to select those who will be treated in Germany and other countries, and who will join the more than 2,500 who had already dealt with the German organization since its inception.

I'm sure that happens what happens in the troubled Afghanistan, Peace Village will continue coming back, but unfortunately without Ronald Gegenfurtner in front.

Rest in peace Ronald!

No comments:

Post a Comment