2013 Choate Alumni Award
Click here to see the 2013 Choate Alumni Award ceremony, bestowing the award posthumously for the first time in the history of the school, to Paula Loyd, class of 1990, in recognition of her achievements in public service and humanitarian aid.
Connecting with Roots of Peace
During a recent trip to England, Patty and Terry connect with Heidi Kuhn, founder of Roots of Peace. Ms. Kuhn mentions the visit and Paula on her blog.
Patty and Terry visit Afghanistan
Terry and I have just returned from the most inspiring and uplifting trip we have ever taken! We were invited by the American Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, to come to Afghanistan, and to be the guests of he and his wife in their home at the Embassy Compound! He called us in St. Thomas with the invitation, and said they wanted to help in the work Paula had set out for us all to do. It seemed the whole Embassy staff was attuned to our visit, and they made what could have been a very difficult trip for us into one that felt like we were visiting family! It was an almost surreal experience.
The afternoon we arrived they had a tea planned for us, and had invited all of the people Paula had worked with at the UN, ISAF, USAID, Afghan friends, interested parties, the Deputy Ambassador and dear Governor Arman came all the way from the other side of the Country to be there! This was held at the Rooftop Garden, and was spectacular, with the sun setting over the high mountains of the Hindu Kush.
The next day we attended a meeting with Educational/Cultural Affairs Officers, and after lunch at the Embassy Dining Facility, attended a Womenâ€™s Education Round Table to discuss the Paula Loyd Foundation and to see where they could help find girls that will meet the required criteria.
The next day we went to the Museum, as it was one of the places Paula was very interested in helping, and asked us to go there to see if we may be able to personally render some assistance with their needs. Turns out the thing where we may be able to help the most is they need a school bus to bring children out to the museum, as they have no way of getting there, so none of the children get to go to this museum that has some wonderful Afghan history and culture on display.
That evening we had a glorious private dinner with Ambassador Eikenberry and his lovely wife. We were able to answer their questions regarding Paulaâ€™s work, her experience, and her dreams, and how she assigned all of us to keep the good works going, if something happened to her.
Next day was a trip to Turquoise Mountain. Those of you who have read Rory Stewart’s books – “The Places In Between” and “Prince of the Marshes” about his time in Afghanistan and Iraq, will be familiar with the name Turquoise Mountain. He has set up a charity to teach young people the nearly lost arts of carving these very intricate wood doors, screens, windows, and furniture, Calligraphy, painting and fine needlework. It was extremely interesting.
We were invited to visit an orphanage, and I must admit I was a bit apprehensive, as I was afraid it might be a sad experience, but was I wrong!!! This orphanage has been adopted by a Special Forces group, and they are helping them get the things they need to take care of these girls, aged 5-18. The Director told them Paula’s Story, and so when we arrived, they gave me two bouquets, and lined up on both sides of the walk, and showered rose petals in our paths as we walked pass them!! I don’t cry often, but that really brought tears to my eyes!! The SF’s are building ten new school rooms and, they are going to name one of them after Paula, and put her picture up in the room!! Upon our departure, they ushered us into a room where they had their fine sewing classes, and had all the lovely dresses that the girls had made on display. Nothing would do, but I had to pick one out! The kindness and generosity of these people who have so little is overwhelming!!
A few of Paula’s Afghan friends were invited to the compound for tea and a visit, and when Mrs. Eikenberry found out we were having them in the courtyard downstairs, she insisted they come up to their private quarters, and since the household staff had the day off, she proceeded to go to the kitchen and prepare tea and sweets for everyone herself!
The Press Attache at the Embassy, Brendan O’Brien, said they run a marathon each year and donate the proceeds to different charities. This year, they are going to donate their proceeds to the Paula Loyd Foundation. He wrote a couple of days ago, and said he was having dinner with some friends, and decided that if they would all donate $250.00 to the Foundation, he would run a marathon by himself, and wanted to see how much they could raise by the time he got back!! He ran for four hours, and when he returned, they had raised $2,700.00, and the main marathon has not even been run yet! It is just unbelievable, how Paula continues to inspire people!!
All too soon the day of departure arrived, and after a very informative lunch with a wonderful Brig. General, who wanted to know what she could do to help, we packed our bags and headed out to the airport, and back to that Fantasy Land known as Dubai!
Until the next exciting installment, it is with love and much affection that this travelogue is closed!!