hen he asked National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry if he could travel with him to Afghanistan to document his work and help complete a photo exhibit for the United Nations, FDU Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing Arthur Petrosemolo was prepared for a polite refusal. McCurry always works and travels alone. But to Petrosemolo’s amazement, McCurry said he would welcome him on his next trip.
After a flurry of preparations, the two left New York on March 13 for a 12-hour flight to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. From there, they boarded Ariana Afghan for a two-hour trip to Kabul.
Petrosemolo was surprised at the extent to which Afghanistan “is a cash economy … no ATM machines, few banks, no credit cards or travelers’ checks. Before we left Dubai, I had to change all my travelers’ checks back into U.S. dollars and stuff my wallet and pockets with cash.”
The revelations would grow more significant. When traveling in Afghanistan, McCurry relies on his in-country contact Qais Azimy, who has a four-wheel drive Toyota and a driver. Upon first entering Kabul, Petrosemolo said he saw “cars traveling on roads mixed with donkey carts and people pushing and pulling homemade carts loaded with goods … no traffic lights or visible police … It is everybody for themselves.”