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Mission Medina: “Need Help? We Just Arrived, Barely Alive, but How Can We Help?”

Posted on August 30, 2021

Written by AUW

Dear AUW Friends,

Many of you have asked for more on our students’ journey to date.  So, I thought I would share more tidbits from the past few days.

After five days of repeated but, sadly unsuccessful, attempts to get through all checkpoints into Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), then, unbelievably, our students made it through the airport.  Still terrified and exhausted, three of our students went away from the large crowd and went into another room within the airport to charge their cell phones, now as lifeless as the world had already become for them.  As the phones were charging, they fell asleep…and, alas, in the rush and confusion of things, the other 145 of the AUW team had already departed without them for an unannounced US airbase destination in the Middle East.

Panicked and in total dread, the students still left at HKIA Airport, WhatsApped me. I, in turn, reached out to Andrew Schroeder, our volunteer friend from Direct Relief (which is helping us with a shipment of Covid supplies to campus) and who had helped upload his geospatial locator App on the phones of each of our students as a part of preparing for this trip.  Andrew could monitor on his dashboard in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the exact whereabouts  of each person at any given time, so long as as the phones remained charged and they were on the ground.  But, now, Andrew’s dashboard went dark with no blinking signals for him to track.  We assumed that the students were still flying and therefore out of reach to be monitored.  So, in the darkness of all the missing signals, we suggested that our three women catch the next Milair flight to Doha.

When they reached Doha, they kept searching for the others except that there was nobody else there!  The other 145 students  had all gone to Riyadh!  As we would expect with any AUW student, our three in Doha, immediately volunteered to become translators and announcers in the midst of 18,000 other souls who were parked in airplane hangers in the US military base there.  Below you see our three students at work with megaphones on hand at the base in Doha where they had arrived only just hours before.

With gratitude,

Kamal Ahmad
Founder & Trustee
Asian University for Women

For more information: auwafghanresponse@asian-university.org