Sowing seeds of hope in Afghanistan – Dr Alex Duncan and family

My brother has just posted to his blog a link to a BBC report about a medic friend of his, Alex Duncan, who’s work is saving lives in Afghanistan. There’s also this BBC clip in which Alex waves his arms around, looking at the mountains, and saying, ‘this is my office – it’s great!’ The ‘price’ of what he is doing is that he and his family are living in a ‘typical one-roomed mud hut’ with no running water, or drains, and lots of blankets at night to negotiate the -25 degree winters. Judging by Alex’s ease and his enthusiasm, you’d think they were on holiday! (He invited me to supper once, when he was still a bachelor; he’s highly intelligent, no doubt with a good doctor’s bedside manner. He’s also in a place that’s very like the mountains of Ladakh, where I went for a holiday of a lifetime. I’d love to ask him how he came to be where he’s at.) Wonderful to see.

Update (30th September 2007)
You may not know today is the 800th anniversary of the birth of the great poet, son of Afghanistan and lifelong resident of Konya (now Turkey), Jelaluddin Rumi.

There’s a nice article, ‘The Roar of Rumi’, on the BBC’s website, about him and how he has been celebrated in Afghanistan since then – click here.

Tonight in London there is also a special celebration, about which you can read more in Sumptuous World, read a Rumi poem here, and see photos of the prior performances here, here, here, and here.


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11 Responses to “Sowing seeds of hope in Afghanistan – Dr Alex Duncan and family”

  1. R. Ruble Says:

    I just saw the BBC piece and that lead me to Google the man, which lead me to your blog. Do you have any way to contact Dr. Duncan? I would love to ask him a few questions about the current living situation in Afghanistan. Primarily, whether we would recommend, in light of the current political instability; other individuals from the West to pursue a like kind opportunity to help the people of that tragic land.

    Very kind regards. RR

  2. drfrank Says:

    I’d suggest asking my brother, who has probably had more recent contact with Alex than I – follow this link to his blog, Quaerentia:

  3. B A Says:

    i just saw the clip of dr duncan . he is doing a magneficent job which i appreciate it .
    is there any contact details of dr ducane where we can contact him

  4. drfrank Says:

    You could also try the BBC directly?

  5. Raisa Tabrizi-Desmond Says:

    I was absolutely astonished not only because of Dr Duncon’s genuine dedication to his honourable profession and humanity he displays, but also completely taken by surprise of his devoted and equaly humanitarian wife – Eleanor’s joining him and even taking their four children with her. On one hand it makes their day-to-day life more challenging for all concerned and on the other hand this experience gives their children the unique experience no money can buy!
    Absolutely well done from the bottom of my hear to all, especially Dr Duncan for making another important decision of learning and speaking the language!
    Dear all, people like you make our lives worth living for, despite of being bombrded on a daily basis by all kinds of media with likes of Paris Hilton, Posh, Madona and thousands more in the same category! Thanks God you exist!
    If I can be of any use to you or the others like you I would like to offer my assitance as I linguist of Russian, Persian, Azeri.
    Please, if possible, let me know of any future events on this sort of TV/Radio programmes.
    Yours truly, Raisa

  6. drfrank Says:

    Hi Raisa, Thank you for your lovely, heartfelt encouragement. I, and I’m sure many people like me, will do my best to pass on these kinds of story. You may find this clip of an American newsreader, who refuses to prioritise a story about Paris Hilton in favour of news that’s more important, here:

    If I come across opportunities that would make use of your skills, I will let you know.

  7. RAkhtar Says:

    I jave just watched BBC News 24’s programme, Our World: a country practice, which featured Doctor Duncan and his work and I must say i was truly touched by the story of this very enlightened and great man and his equally enlightened wife. The Doctor and his wife are the perfect example of a good human beings and what is good about Britain and the west and his selfless work in Afghanistan is an inspiration to us all. I wish him and his family all the best may Allah bless them.

  8. drfrank Says:

    Thank you for your comment, RAkhtar. I hope Alex and his family get to see all these lovely comments people are leaving…

  9. MM Says:

    Truly Inspirational. . . After watching the programme on the BBC I was left astonished, how someone from modern day England could move to a war stricken Afghanistan and make such a change in peoples lives. Dr Alex Duncan and family should be merited with an award of some sort for leaving behind, sacrifice, all the luxuries of the world to live a basic life in a selfless act. I am surprised there are people like this family remaining on Earth, as this is what Humanity is really about.

  10. Osman Says:


  11. Nessa Says:

    Hello Dr Alex Duncan i am truly amazed to see you and your family helping the people in Afghanistan. I would like to help but I don’t know how to. Please let me know what support and help we can provide.

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