A few years ago, Ray Starrett decided to do something positive about the U.S. attack on Afghanistan. He started LAMP - the La Crosse Afghanistan Mine-removal Project. This Adopt A Minefield chapter, part of the United Nations Association of the USA, raises funds to help clear landmines and unexploded ordinance in Afghanistan.
Fundraising is heaviest in early November when the annual worldwide Night of 1,000 Dinners (N1KD) brings people together in their communities for food, education and giving. The La Crosse N1KD has grown over the years; for the past two years, LAMP has organized a week of activities including art displays, speakers, cooking classes and the N1KD, with authentic recipes from Afghanistan, speakers and slides.
David Blackey, LAMP's current president, will travel to Afghanistan this spring. "My travels will take me to Kabul on April 29 for a ten day stay. I will be staying with Shabana's father, General Basij Rasikh. I hope to send brief emails while there, and then do an email report to the membership after my return on May 9th, plus show photographs at next November's N1KD."
David notes that he will meet with Sarah Chayse, formerly a reporter for National Public Radio, now, according to David, "a saint." She is working to develop a cooperative that makes natural skin care products, ARGHAND, to foster democracy, make money for the villagers of the Kandahar region and combat the illegal opium trade. You can hear Amy Goodman's October 2006 interview with her here.
We hope to include some posts from David during his travels and will remind you when N1KD time rolls around in November. But you can contribute to LAMP anytime by mailing your check to LAMP, PO Box 3542, La Crosse, WI 54602-3542