I arrived in Mazar-e-Sharif yesterday afternoon after finishing my last practice with the Maimana team in the morning. The four days in Maimana flew by, and it was a fantastic reunion with the team and my friends there. I’m really proud of how far the team has come over the last year and a half, both as basketball players and as people, and can’t wait to hear where their lives take them in the future. I had a great conversation with them after practice yesterday and learned that Shapur, the team captain, hopes to become a powerful (and, he specified, non-corrupt) politician someday so he can play a role in helping Afghanistan and its people recover after so many years of conflict. Those are the kinds of lofty goals I love to hear from the players here.

The pictures below are of:
1. Shapur using proper shooting form (finally!) on a layup.
2. Haroon throwing a picture-perfect outlet pass to Alem to start a fast break.
3. On Bazaar Day people from outlying villages travel to Maimana to buy and sell goods, many of them riding into town on donkeys.
4. Me and the team. They chose to look tough. I chose not to.