KABUL -- I became interested in food assistance when I was working with an NGO partner of WFP. It was after several years of drought here and people were pretty desperate. So when a job came up, I applied for it. I joined WFP in 2007.
I was happy to work anywhere in Afghanistan but I ended up working out of Kabul with my main focus on the central highlands. My family originates from one of the best known places there, Bamyan.
At first I found it very hard to listen to stories people told me, especially the children, about not having enough to eat. I couldn’t really believe that people were only eating one meal a day – and sometimes that was only bread and tea with no sugar. It was like a window into another world, far from my own experience.
Excited by high energy biscuits
But over time it gets easier because the great thing is that little by little, you can see improvements. One of the best things for me is seeing school children receive their high energy biscuit rations. So many of them don’t get anything to eat before they head off to the classroom and they get excited about the biscuits. I get excited along with them.
We do a lot of road building through Food-for-Work. One time when we were out assessing the roads, because they were in such bad condition, we actually had a minor car accident! No one was hurt and the car was OK, but the irony wasn’t lost on us.
I love football and I support Real Madrid! But my favourite players are Ronaldinho, Beckham, Raoul and best of all Wayne Rooney – he’s such an amazing player because you can’t tell what he’s going to do next – he’s very difficult to read on the pitch.
Against the odds
I don’t get to watch too many matches these days because I’m so busy with work and there isn’t always a TV where I end up. However, I like playing table tennis and there’s a table at the local gym in Bamyan, so I try to play there in the evenings when I’m in town.
Despite all the problems my country has, seeing people struggle against the odds and the help that is at hand for them gives me courage and hope that they’ll be able to look after themselves in the future.