Magdalen Nabb


Postcards From Pakistan
A Well In Afghanistan
Out of Africa







I am about to leave Italy for Kenya, to leave the streets of Florence for the Rift Valley to do a sponsored horse ride in support of The Brooke whose clinics give free treatment to the working equines of the world’s poorest people. We shall be riding about 40km a day—that, by my reckoning, is around six hours a day in the saddle. An unknown saddle. On an unknown horse. So: where can I get the £3,000 minimum sponsorship? And some yellow fever vaccine (Italy has run out). And a seat saver. And….






Every year I interrupt my work on novels about crime to write something for children. This year was different. At the time when I would normally have done that, I was drawn instead to the plight of Afghan refugee children and to the work done for them by Elisabeth Neuenschwander whose school in Quetta, Pakistan,I saw on tv. This seemed to me the moment to do something different for children so I arranged a meeting with Elisabeth in Switzerland with the idea of using the proceeds of my Josie Smith stories to buy books for her school. On returning home I received a fax, through riding contacts, from the Brooke Hospital for Animals, asking for help to deal with the sudden influx into Pakistan of horses bearing refugees from the American bombardment of Afghanistan. One of my children’s books, ‘The Enchanted Horse’ seemed written for no other purpose than to provide that help. There are times when the only option is to go with the flow. I booked a ticket and applied for visas...

Josie Smith in Pakistan




In 2003, with refugees pouring back over the mountains into Afghanistan, an emergency intervention by the Brooke hospital was needed again. On crossing the border, the first city the returning Afghans reach is Jalalabad so the Brooke decided to set up a clinic there. Doctor Ali Twaissi went from his clinic in Jorden to see what the situation was like in Afghanistan. He reported that it was disastrous. The recent bombing had destroyed the water supply. How could he set up a clinic when the nearest source of water for this city of sixty thousand people was three miles away?

The Enchanted Horse in Afghanistan

For information on the Brooke Hospital: