Almost One Month …

June 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm 4 comments

Although technically I’ve been away from Ottawa for over a month now, my trip to NY neatly interspersed my trip from Ottawa to PK.  In two days I would have been in Islamabad for a month.  Interesting how time in a country changes your perspective.

The first 3 weeks I was in a daze, trying to understand everything and everyone and adapting quickly to heat, culture, language and the job.  With the help of many people, during this time I found a hairdresser, a tailor, several estheticians, a Chinese doctor, international food stores, safe taxis, safe restaurants, an amazing hiking group, good fabric stores, great shoe stores (with sales!), a couple of bakeries that put ours to shame and food markets with lovely fruit. I’ve learned about my wonderful job, about the amazing, knowledgeable and open-minded people I work with, learned a lot about the UN system and how it works and had the opportunity to meet incredible, dedicated people doing some amazing work for humanity.

At the same time I’ve noticed that the aircon in my room works very well at night and is a recirculator of hot air in the middle of day making my room a steam bath (good for the pores, not for anything else).  I’ve noticed that 95% of people on the street are men.  And they stare at me and everybody else…all the time.  Apparently it’s not rude but it is unnerving and after a while, it is annoying. Of course they would stare – I’m a woman walking down the street, a rare occurance.  One time I was walking to work at 7 am and a taxi made a dead stop in the middle of an intersection and the driver stared at me for the time it took me to walk 1/3 of a city block.  When I turned the corner, I had had enough and I started staring back – just staring, without talking.  Surely he would take the hint.  He finally smiled and said hello.  I mean..what do you do with that? 

I also notice that the power goes off in our district from 7ish to 8ish pm every night.  Normally not a problem.  Not having aircon with temps at 40C is a problem. Still, to put it into perspective – there are at least 1.9 million refugees of which abut 270,000 live in tents in camps without fans, without aircons, without furniture and probably only with one change of clothes.  They are living on food rations and water supplied by humanitarian agencies and unable to return to their villages or earn their livelihood because the area is too insecure.   

Perhaps I can handle a few beads of perspiration.

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One Week Ago Today 2 in a Row

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gaby  |  June 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    glad to hear all about your adventures, especially finding all those shops. hope it is safe you walking places? are you having clothes made??pink and/or teal in colour??, it is warm 27C in town today and for the next few days, do not have the AC on yet, and to make matters worse, there is a small hole in the pool liner (do not know here) and can not use it yet, and yesterday having trouble with our well water. can’t wait for that pool, your flowers are doing fine. keep in touch, take good care of yourself, miss you

    Reply
  • 2. JJ  |  June 23, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Gaby – talk to Diane’s hubby Paul – he had a similar pool liner adventure and finally found a simple fix. Pink/purple with pepto bismal pants is ready today for pickup. (really had no choice in PB pants) Can’t wait to see my design come to life.

    Reply
  • 3. Lady makena  |  September 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I love those clothes. Bring some for me on your way back to New York. Take care.

    Reply
    • 4. JJ  |  September 24, 2009 at 12:58 pm

      Will need your measurements to have them made!

      Reply

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