Wednesday, 29 December 2010


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The year is ending. One thinks of the projects and the illusions of 2011 to counter the mood of pessimism and widespread crisis. It is also a time for many memories. Lately, I've been working on one of these projects side to side with his creators, David Monfil and Nacho Hernandez. And there have been so many memories of Kabul in 2003. The organization Peace Village. My friend Wolfgang Martens. Ronald, who is no longer with us, and to whom I played a tribute in these pages. Soma's history, that you’ll know soon thanks to the project called Obtura. Dr. Marouf. Shafiqullah. And Maria Tinnefeld.
On all of them I wrote in the report Mission in Kabul, which I published in the Vanguardia Magazine and won the award for best solidary story published in Catalonia in 2004. I picked up the prize from the hands of the then Minister for Social Welfare, Marina Gelli, at the the Palau de la Generalitat.
I wrote in Vanguardia's Magazine about Maria:

"He is accompanied by Maria, one of the many volunteers of the organization, with the false impression that her natural habitat might be the fashion shows in Hamburg and Berlin. Misleading, because despite his short 23 years, the German girl has been involved with Peace Village in places like Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Angola, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. She’ll be the right hand of Dr. Marouf in healing wounds, sores and fistulas of the cases that will come through the local Red Cross, and will help Ronald, in the complicated paperwork accurately performed, German way, and always, always, she will have a smile to the most disadvantaged of the more than 600 children that will spend the next few days for consultation".

I remembered about Maria because a few days ago when I wrote about land mine's injuried photographers like Joao Silva and Emilio Morenatti. We had gone to pick someone up at the airport in Kabul. Back, I saw the skeletons of wrecked aircraft destroyed by North American Aviation stacked on the sides of the track and asked to stop to take pictures. Men collected scrap and Ronald, Maria, and Dr. Maruff, an Afghan, stayed to talk to them. I started to photograph the aircrafts and was encouraging me, photographers already know that feeling. I left the main road and climbed over some debris in search of better frames, click, click, click.

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Then I saw that Maria left the group and headed toward me. She smiled, took my hand, as if I were a naughty child, and brought me back to the main path while saying: "Don't you ever forget that Afghanistan is plenty of land mines, Paco".

These are the memories that came to me in the last day of 2010.

Happy 2011 Maria!

Happy 2011 dear friends and readers of this blog!


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