The Kickstarter campaign for The League of Afghanistan officially concluded this morning, having significantly exceeded the initial production goal of $20,000. Michael Glowacki, the film’s director, is on his way to Afghanistan as we speak to capture the rest of my trip on film. Congratulations to the film makers and thanks to everyone who helped make this happen, whether through contributing to the fund raising or by passing the site around to your networks!

I flew from Mazar to Kabul yesterday, surviving the bumpy ride in a tiny ICRC plane flying over the mountains despite battling an unpleasant stomach bug. Now I’m back at Alberto’s house resting comfortably and recovering from two weeks of constant basketball for a couple days. I fly to Herat on Wednesday – this will be my first visit there – and will work with their team for the next week.

My two weeks in Mazar flew by. I had such a good time working with all the players and meeting so many fascinating people. Special thanks to my three housemates – Christy, Curzio and Fadi – for being so welcoming, and to the great staff at the Orthopaedic Centre – Jamil, Khalid, Reza, and Mr. Fateh – for keeping everything so well organized. The one downside of my time in Mazar was the fact that I was unable to attend the wedding of Tawab – the first interpreter I worked with and one of the player/coaches for the Mazar team – due to extra tight security regulations that kept me at my house the morning of the wedding. Congratulations, Tawab!

Below are a few photos of the Mazar experience:

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The sunrise over Mazar on my drive to practice each morning at 5:30am

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Running the Mazar women’s team through a warm-up game of “knock out” before their tournament

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A common sight at the women’s games: teammates barking at each other while I come in laughing to diffuse the situation

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The ladies strike a tough pose after demanding a group photo between tournament games

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Then show their true colors after I make fun of their mean mugging

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Jamil undoubtedly asking me to clarify the meaning of some untranslatable basketball jargon

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Basketball in Afghanistan often looks more like the violent national sport of Buzkashi, whether it’s women or men on the court

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During one practice, I joined the Maimana team for a quick game of 3-on-3 when they were short one player

Photos from the Mazar men’s tournament coming soon!