This is a story I will never forget. I seem to recall at the time reading that a nurse tore down the Laura Bush sign and threw it away in disgust.
When the US invaded Afghanistan in October of 2001, Afghan hopes were high that democracy would bring enormous progress for Afghan women in the arena of health and education. In 2003, nearly two years after the Taliban’s fall, Dr. Mojadidi was invited by the United States Government to help rehabilitate the largest women’s hospital in the country, Rabia Balkhi, now newly re-named as the Laura Bush Maternity Ward. What he finds is appalling – the conditions at the hospital are unworkable, and none of the equipment and supplies that were promised has arrived. After several months, Dr. Mojadidi leaves in frustration. Two years later, he returns to Afghanistan to work with Shuhada, an Afghan-led non-governmental organization that runs hospitals, where Dr. Mojadidi attempts to pass on his knowledge to the over-worked and under-trained doctors and to help the hundreds of women who have traveled days to see him.