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Islamabad Update

March 18, 2010

I know I’ve put off an update, but the school is now opening in April so I have been adjusting to that and settling into life in Islamabad. Although I now worry that I will eat up the stash of candy I bought for the mountains…it’s just so temptingly close at hand. We have moved into the guest house so now I have my own room and bathroom, which is snazzy. Mornings are spent fundraising; cold-calling folks for in-kind donations and potential child sponsorships as well as writing email sponsor requests. We provide meals, medical care for the children for free and will have uniforms for the kids this year as well. But we need funds, so fundraising has been an important aspect of my time here thus far. If you know of a company or individual who might be interested in sponsoring one of my kids please let me know!

This past Sunday Jenny Liz and I went to the Itwab Bazaar, a large bazaar with rows and rows of stalls selling everything from used shoes from the West to mops to discount onions. Haggling here is a much more genteel affair than in Nepal, where you were only respected as a buyer if you got angry and spoke Nepali. The prices at the bazaar were also incredibly fair, so little bargaining was necessary. I bought cloth, ribbon and some snazzy Pakistani sandals…with bells. We’ll see how long I last with bells on my shoes until I cut them off in frustration 

Two more teachers have arrived, Naimh (from Ireland) and Adrienne (from New Zealand) so it’s been nice to have their input of lesson plans and school-related things. I am so nervous and excited to get up to the school. But this extra month gives me time to get a decent selection of shalwar kemeez made, purchase additional school books (also bought Planet Earth on DVD for my kids!) and get used to the seasonal allergies which have stricken me for the first time in my life—thank you Mulberry trees.

Yesterday evening us four teachers were running some errands when we were approached by an older couple. The man was very excited and began asking us where we all were from and what we were doing in Pakistan, said he was glad to see us in Pakistani dress, and then proceeded to tell us about his studies in the US and throughout the world. For ten minutes, he regaled us with his visits to Ney York and the Netherlands, his son’s academic career at Cambridge and his belief that education was more important than wealth. This sort of thing has been the norm for me, when telling folks I’m from California. I have yet to be berated for being from the United States; instead (as happened at the Bazaar) the shopkeeper will excitedly say “Oh! I have a cousin in Cleveland, his name is _____ _____, perhaps you know him?” As Jenny pointed out, if people here dislike your country they simply stand in the back of the shop and glower. No one runs up shouting anti-American slogans.

Heading to Peshawar this weekend to visit a friend of my father’s, Dr. Khan. Very excited to get to see another Pakistani city ,and I’ll try and do a better job of documenting this adventure with pictures than I’ve done over the past couple of weeks 🙂

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    March 18, 2010 8:10 pm

    Oh Sarah, I miss you so much but am happy you are continuing to have wonderful adventures!

  2. willowmata permalink
    March 20, 2010 6:54 pm

    Sandals with bells! And the bazarr! I’m loving reading your writing and descriptions of life there. Finally have a moment here to give you feedback on your letter, off to do it now. Big hugs, keep writing–you’re incredibly good at it!

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