What happened during Project Omid?
Since new year, I’ve been asked on several occasions what happened during Project Omid? It’s hard to describe without sounding too gushy because so many people did so much with so little, unfortunately we were unable to do as much as we’d hoped because Omicron meant that we had to work with the families in the hotels. So we took over conference rooms and we play musical chairs, or football with a ball made out of plastic bags and paper. And the kids did lots of drawing and it seemed to work as well as you could hope for, but it was nothing like we have planned.
Bristol SweetMart were incredibly generous
However, there was one occasion which will stick in my mind and will be my lasting memory of Project Omid. And that was the day we managed to get five Afghan women and half a dozen kids in a minibus. And we took them to Bristol SweetMart. And we said to them, go in and get everything you need to cook the half a lamb that we’ve already been given and turn that into meals for people back at the hotels. So when we went to Sweet Mart and there was lots of shuffling around and lots of kind of finding your feet and it was wonderful to watch how, just being able to kind of shop and do something for yourself for a change. It was beginning to make a difference. We ended up taking over one of the checkouts and Sweet Mart had agreed with me in advance that they would discount some of the food. It turned out that they did a hundred percent discount and frankly swim up, take a aback because that was an awful lot of food that got rocked up. They also treated the kids to sweets and some food from the deli for lunch, which was really going beyond that. So we filled the mini bus up with the kids and the women and all the shopping.
We cooked up a storm
And we went up to Baggator and we got out the half lamb that we’ve been donated and the women started cooking and it was absolutely amazing to watch, how, in three and a half hours, they turned all that food and that lamb into 120 3-course meals, which were then put into plastic containers and taken back to the hotel for all the other Afghans to eat home, cooked food for a change. Now, not only was it quite an achievement to do that within that time, but it was also stunning to watch how as the day went on, people started to relax and laugh and joke.
Project Omid made a difference
And by the end of it, it was a completely different group of people that got back into the minibus. They were just so much more relaxed and they’d had so much fun and I can’t convey just how grateful we are to all the people that have made that happen. That is a lasting memory of Project Omid.