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Lions Roar : July 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2008 55 I lived in Kabul for five months of 2007, photographing the opium and heroin trade, AIDS, prisons, mercenaries, the aftermath of a massacre of civilians by U.S. Marines, a Taliban ambush with a high number of fa- talities (which nearly included myself ), and several other subjects that involved terrible loss or suffering. In Molly’s yoga class I saw something different. I saw healing, I saw compassion, and I saw hope—hope that is desperately needed in a country that is increasingly unstable and violent. Today, Afghanistan is falling back into chaos. Over the past few years the Taliban have reclaimed much of the south and east of the country, and their suicide bombings are increasing in both frequency and size. The country, which has been in a continual state of conflict for twenty-nine years, is still very much at war. And as is always the case in war, women and children bear the greatest burden. Most of the children in the Alluhodin Orphanage have lost a father or mother to war or illness. When children enter an orphanage in Afghanistan, they find them- selves in a world that is cold and violent, neglectful and punishing—a world in which they are used as props to lure in foreign donations, then literally locked up again once the money is guaranteed. Enter Molly Howitt. Molly is a 28-year-old American who moved to Kabul two years ago from New Mexico. During her first weeks in the city, she was taken to the orphanage by the di- rector of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Services for Afghanistan (PARSA) and of- fered a chance to teach yoga to the children JULY 52-57.indd 55 JULY 52-57.indd 55 4/28/08 10:17:29 AM 4/28/08 10:17:29 AM