[Offtopic] [OZTL_NET] Skateboarding School in Afghanistan

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Tue Jan 27 05:42:09 EST 2009

Go Aussie :-)  (here's the Youtube with kids, smiles, fountain & bike etc)


> Skateboarding in Afghanistan Provides a Diversion From Desolation 

By ADAM B. ELLICK  http://www.nytimes.com  Published: January 25, 2009

KABUL, Afghanistan .. six children tumbling off their skateboards to the
tune of laughter .. hours before, 20 yards away .. the body of a suicide
car bomber was sprawled beside a glistening pool of blood.

Afghan youth have learned to recover almost instantly from such routine 

One person determined to inject some normalcy into their lives is Oliver 
Percovich. A 34-year-old from Australia, he plans to open this country’s 
first skateboarding school, Skateistan, this spring. 

“Teenagers are trying to dissociate from old mentalities, and I’m their 
servant,” Percovich said. “If they weren’t interested, I would’ve left a 
long time ago.”

Now, when he pulls his motorcycle into a residential courtyard here, a 
dozen youngsters pounce before it comes to a stop, yanking six chipped 
skateboards with fading paint off the back. 

The children, most participating in a sport for the first time in their 
war-hardened lives, do not want to waste any time. Their skateboard park 
is a decrepit Soviet-style concrete fountain with deep fissures. 

But Percovich has raised the money needed to build an 8,600-square-foot 
bubble to house the non-profit Skateistan complex, and the Kabul Parks 
Authority has tentatively donated land. He is still waiting for official 
permission to begin the project..

Among those who look forward to his visits is Maro, an elfin 9-year-old 
girl who was terrified of skateboarding at first.

“It gives me courage, and once I start skating, I completely forget about 
my fears,” she said ..

Cheers people
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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