Just goes to show that I can still be surprised by a response to one of my early novels.
The book was Crow's War, which was set in Afghanistan at the time of the Russian invasion. It was first published almost thirty years ago today and was my attempt to emulate the novels of some of my favourite 'high adventure' authors: Alistair MacLean, Hammond Innes, Duncan Kyle, Desmond Bagley, Geoffrey Jenkins and the brilliant Berkely Mather.
The response to my story was in the form of a message from a young man - Mahdi Housaini - who works in an Afghan orphanage.
Mahdi was born in Sydney Australia to Afghan immigrant parents who fled their home country in the late eighties. Both were student activists who revolted against the Soviet invaders and their puppet government in Kabul.
Three years ago, Mahdi travelled to Afghanistan during his university break. He was immediately struck by the beauty of the landscape and the kindness of the people, but above all by the suffering that still overwhelms the population to this day. He was determined to do something about it.
He returned to the country a year ago and now works in an orphanage in the Panjshir Valley; one of the Hope Houses run by the Mahboba's Promise aid organization based in Australia.
Mahdi's set himself a project: to set up the first Child and Youth Library in Afghanistan.
If you'd like to know more about the aid organization - perhaps you you'd like to support them in some way - just click on the image above to go to the Mahboba's Promise website.
There's a page on the site where Mahdi writes about his experiences in Afghanistan and the work he's doing. Click on the image below and that'll take you there.