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Zen Peacekeeper.

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Want to help me revisit Afghanistan?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 by Marianne Elliott

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Earlier this year Zen Under Fire was published. It’s the story of the two years I spent in Afghanistan – the people I met there, the lessons they taught me.

Four and a half years since I was last in Afghanistan, I have the chance to return. I’ve been given the opportunity to combine three of my favorite things into one trip:

– helping to uncover and tell inspiring stories about Afghanistan;

– teaching yoga and well-being to people working to serve others, and

– supporting local Afghan women’s advocates.

This is pretty much a dream trip for me.

PLUS it will give me the chance to go back to Chagcharan, a small town high in the Hindu Kush where I lived for six months and where much of my book is set. The movement towards withdrawal of international support for Afghanistan, mean that ongoing funding for some of the work I was involved in setting up in Ghor may be at risk.

By going back now, and recording stories of the successes of my former colleagues who have carried on the work we started together, I hope to do my bit to help advocate for the need for more – rather than less – international support for the people of Ghor.

I also want to take copies of my book back to the people who made it possible in the first place. The colleagues, friends and teachers who many of you have met in the pages of Zen Under Fire.

To make this trip possible, I need your help. None of the organisations I’ll be visiting or working with on this trip have the resources to fund my trip. I’ve saved what I can, but I haven’t quite got enough. Travel in Afghanistan is expensive. The security situation means that I have to choose more expensive (and safer) options for accommodation and transport.

The total cost of this trip is going to be about $4500. I have $2000. I’m asking for your help to raise the remaining $2500.

I’ve never raised funds or asked for donations for myself before. This is new (and uncomfortable) territory. But I believe in the value of the work I’m doing on this trip. And I haven’t felt this excited about my work, or as clear about my purpose for a long time.

If you share my passion for telling alternative stories about the situation in Afghanistan, for supporting the brave women Afghan who speak up for the rights of their sisters, or for serving those people who serve others, then I hope you’ll see this as your chance to be part of something special.

I’ve set up a ChipIn page, which makes it easy for you to make a donation via PayPal using your PayPal account or credit card.

If this feels like something you want to be part of, I’ll be grateful for your support and excited to have you along with me.

If this doesn’t feel right for you, that’s absolutely okay too!

Either way, if you are on my mailing list, I’ll be updating you on my progress and sharing stories from my travels with you.

Thank you!

Marianne

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