(Note:  Today the Flatirons Church blog is featuring a daily update from team member Keri Scott.  Be sure to check it out to get another team member’s perspective on this fantastic day.)
Day Two – Hopeful Hearts and Happy Kids
We started the day with what has become a traditional breakfast of pancakes, hard boiled eggs, Happy Cow cheese wedges, naan with peanut butter and Nutella, and Fanta.  I know, I know… but trust me – over here that combination rocks!
Yesterday was the Muslim Holy Day (no school) and tomorrow is Afghan New Year’s Day, a national (and school) holiday.  Well… somehow word got out – incorrectly – that there would be no school today.  So when we went to visit the Kabul/Hopeful Hearts School for street kids we were surprised to find only about one-fourth the usual number of kids there.
And then the more we thought about it, we realized it was pretty remarkable that there were ANY kids there!
Can you imagine how many kids would show up at YOUR school if word had gotten out that there would be no classes?  Yep… none!  Yet these kids are so hungry to learn and make a better lives for themselves and their families, they take advantage of every opportunity to go to school – even when the school is supposed to be closed!
After returning from the school, we all headed out for some quick souvenir shopping… the guys to a local tailor shop to be fitted for some custom Afghan clothing, and the ladies to the Roshan shopping area where they were given lessons on the fine art of Afghan negotiation by our hosts.   It was an entertaining close to the morning, to say the least.
We returned to the guest house to find the kids from the Hopeful Hearts/Kabul School arriving for some play time and lunch.  It’s always amazing to me how these kids – raised in the poorest and most disadvantaged conditions on earth and sent to work in the streets to support their families often by the time they're five years old – possess unconquerable spirits.  They are some of the brightest and friendliest children on the face of the earth.  We played all sorts of games with them, laughed with them, and pretty much fell in love with every one of them.  How ironic... on a day that schools were thought to be closed WE ended up learning more about overcoming hardship from Afghan street kids than in any class any of us have ever taken.
After lunch we passed out twenty knapsacks embroidered with, “I am the Future of Afghanistan.”  Very appropriate because I think THESE kids truly ARE the future of Afghanistan.
Before they were done for the day, we were able to serve them a hot nourishing lunch, which is done every day at the school and is often the only meal they’ll eat that day.
Shortly after lunch some friends now living in Kabul arrived at the guest house for an afternoon visit.  We all shared our “What brought you to Afghanistan?” stories and learned about some of the programs our partner organization is working on.  It was inspiring (and often eerily familiar) to hear what leads people to pack up and move their families to the other side of the world.  It was also very enlightening to see in real world terms how our small part plays into the “big picture” of the long term development effort in Afghanistan.
Then it was off to wonderful and relaxing dinner at one of our host’s favorite restaurants – The Grill – with our 14-member team and our nine friends.  Yep... we took over the place.
(Just took a break from writing to do a live call-in interview with Kurt Hansen of Race Central Radio on Denver's Mile High Sport Radio AM1510 – I hope you caught it!  Kurt has long been a big supporter of our work over here and this is two years in a row he’s invited us to call in from Afghanistan LIVE on the air during his radio program!)
Tomorrow is the Afghan New Year’s Day and we’ve got an exciting day planned.  Can’t tell you about it just yet, but look for my report tomorrow night.
Please pray for a day of celebration and joy tomorrow for the Afghan people.  Also, please continue to pray for the health and strength of our team members – for three days in a row now a different team member has felt a bit under the weather… so far nothing too disabling and for which we are very grateful.
Thank you for your continued support.  We would definitely not be here without you!
Rachel got a chance to teach the kids at the Hopeful Hearts/Kabul School for street kids… and vice versa.

 Since the first day we visited Kabul several years ago, nothing has warmed our hearts more
than the sound of happy kids at play.
We passed out kid's napsacks embroidered with, “I am the future of Afghanistan!”
to kids that truly ARE the future of Afghanistan.