It has been a bit over a week since I came home. It is time to do some conclusions. A major problem was that I didn’t feel so free there for the security reasons, moving around and the Islamization policy since the 1970s.
I believe that religions are good for people since they fulfill fundamental human needs but religions can’t restrict other people’s life and rigths.
And it is not very normal that I had to censor my facebook comment because the secret service migth find out about it.
Here come the pros and cons:
+unbelievable hospital people
+people were really nice though there is some extra niceness for foreigners
+ work was interesting, I was writing proposals for new projects which fit for me
+ I got an insigth to the minority situation in Pakistan
+ I learned quite a lot of politics in that area especially after reading two quite good books
+I learned about development and the NGO sector
+through the NGO I met many local people
+I saw Islam “in practice”
-the athmosphere didn’t feel free
-little entertainment outside including sports
-pretty much staying inside
-I wanted to have closer interactions with Muslims
-I was too lazy to write more serious stuff to this blog
Over and out
My boss, Mr. Rufi bought me quite a lot of souvenirs. I will miss this house, people here and Mr. Rufi. I got a Pashtun or a “Taleban” hat from him:)
Mr. Rufi is quite an extraordinary man. He started this NGO after he couldn’t get a job being a Christian. Despite relevant work experience. He was victim in the worst kind of terrorist attack in a Plan international office. The terrorists ordered them to go to a room where they opened fire and eventually exploded the place. Only a table spared his life.
I have had trouble understanding some people here and at first I had trouble understanding Mr. Rufi. Maybe it was the cultural differences, maybe it wasn’t clear for me what is expected from here.
But he has become a very dear friend for me here, always taking care of my needs. And he is always willing to explain Pakistani culture.
I learned to dance like the Talebans.
Tomorrow I will have a “surprise” party. Branch office workmates are coming from a different town:) So it is a farewell party for me.
Sad to leave but excited for the party.
Today it was on the news that international donors like the UN and Red Cross are unable to collect money for the 2011 flood victims because Pakistan has such a bad reputation in the international community. They are 97 percent behind of their goal.
This year I have visited two countries which have a quite bad reputation: Pakistan and China. Well, Pakistan is the worst and the master at this competition:) I loved the Chinese. When I think all the interactions with the local people here, I have absolutely nothing bad to say. Pakistanis are the most hospital people. This is not to say that there are no problems in the society, there are a lot.
In the West we can’t differentiate between the government and the people. Common people are usually nice and good. In fact, here common people are sick and tired of bad governments (often supported by the USA).
So there are 180 million people here, not everybody likes to blow themselves up. And there are quite many safe areas, such as Islamabad.
Several times have been told that I look like a Pashtun which is an ethnic group here. The Talebans belong to Pashtun tribe. So if i wore local clothes and a hat to cover my short hair, I would be very local (Taleban).
The only problem is that that the police would stop me once in a while.
The day before yesterday I went to a Red Cross party (private person held this party). Lots of Red Cross cars outside. This was the richest party I have been in my life: a big house and garden with many cooks, good food, free booze and a kind of dance floor. And I was told this is nothing. It wasn’t even a decent party, more like a social gathering.
Aid workers and foreigners can have quite a luxurious life in this kind of countries (not all) simply because you are white and your currency is stronger. As a foreigner you get special treatment but there are also local people who want to benefit from you, the problem with poor countries but it is a bit tiring.
Today I went shopping with one couple because She wanted to buy some dresses. The dresses girls wear here are quite cute actually.
Anyhow, I didn’t know that Pakistan or Islamabad is quite good for shopping, especially for clothes. I liked the stores. I bought original Lewis jeans for 7,5 euros though these jeans would cost back at home almost 15 times more.
Here they call them Lahore jeans because Lewis has a factory in Lahore.
Today there were more electricity brakes than usually. Usually the electricity goes off at 5pm and 11pm for one hour but today it was three hours more.
When the electricity goes off we play cards:)
Somehow I am always hungry here.
And I miss gym.