Wali Muhammad doesn’t want to be a farmer.
This is a recent revelation for the eight-year-old Afghan boy. Wali’s father wished this for his son much earlier, which is why months ago he began ordering him to “go to school and learn something.”
At first Wali didn’t like it. The school is more than a mile away from where he lives in Helmand province. It’s not so bad in the morning, but in the afternoon the walk back home can occur in triple-digit heat. It could be worse though, some of the other kids travel from twice as far away.
Now Wali looks forward to school. Studying and learning are his favorite parts. He calls it school, all the kids do, but a more accurate description would be class. It’s only 90 minutes long, three days a week, but the children call it school because the volunteer-led program at Forward Operating Base Geronimo is the closest most of them have ever come to a formal education.