Monday, October 31, 2005

Balakot: A Lesson to learn part 1

Landslide at Muzaffarabad

I have just got back from Pakistan. "Thank God, I'm out of that place" said one of the volounteer. It is it not easy travelling or working in Pakistan. Firstly, most of the population cant speak Malay or English. In the villages, its just like 'itik bercakap dengan ayam' with the hands and legs moving actively for sign language. Secondly, the personality or attitude of the people. Thirdly, the administration. Fourthly, the harsh weather and lastly, missing home.

Balakot lies in the North Western Frontier Province, tribal area where the law is decided by the tribe leaders. Over these mountains and valleys dwell the Pashtun or the Pathan. The Pathans are conservative, traditionalist and supposed to be steadfast to their religion, Islam.

Landslide at Muzaffarabad with houses destroyed


The earthquake that hit Northern Pakistan on October 8, had caused a lot of destruction along Neelam, Balakot, Batagram and Alai Valley. Building collapsed, inhabitants burried alive, dead bodies everywhere, those who survived are exposed to cold, hunger, injuries and illness. Many survivors are without shelters.

Those in the mountains took days to walk down seeking aid which eventually end up with only food supply but without tents. The authority concerned was unable to meet the demands in supplying enough tents and blankets. The NGO's and foreign units had given invaluable help in terms of search and rescue, medical relief, tents, blankets, sanitation, clean water, communication, transportation, etc. Without them, the rescue operations would lag far behind. Even then more help is still needed for the homeless victims to survive the coming winter. Without proper shelter, they will be left dying in the cold.

An old man from the mountain

Pleading for a tent


Let me tell you my story. My team consists of 3 person, myself, Dr Wan Mokhzani from medical department HKL and Tuan Haji Hani a retired hospital assistant. We were under Global Peace Mission (GPM), mission 2 sent to relief the earlier group sent on 13 October 2005. Our destination is Balakot, a city in Mansehra District in North West Frontier Province, Pakistan.

We left Kuala Lumpur International Airport(KLIA) at 1.20 pm on 20 th October 2005 to Bangkok. The flight was quite tiring and challenging. We were given warm towels which was very soothing and refreshing to wipe our oily, sweaty face, soiled hands and fingers.

A few minutes later, our fasting were challenged by a sweet deliciuos smell. We looked into each others face with wicked smile. We refused the meal politely teling the air hostess that we were fasting. We then started to search around for 'muslim face' and saw a few. "Musafir", said one of us smiling. "Cabaran... tapi sedap bau lauk tu ye!", another person added. We reached Bangkok International Airport 3 hours late, local time 3.20 pm (time zone 1 hour later than Malaysia). It was a long transit, 5 hours with iftar about 3 1/2 hours to go. We grouped ourselves with a Pakistani whom we met in the plane.

Mr. Mahmud's family is in Mansehra where we will be heading to although he is a Thai citizen. He lived in Golok, married to a Kelantanese Malay and without any children. We 'jamak' our Zohor to 'Asar and started to look for a 'surau'. We were told that thre was no surau in the terminal. Hmm, this is a Buddist country, not a Muslim country to provide us with a surau. We started to walk around hunting for a space to pray and alhamdulillah, there was a space with lots of boxes not far from the lavotary. We opened a few boxes turning them to prayer mats.

There was about another 1/2 an hour before iftar and now we had to search for hallal food. The hunters were Dr Wan and Mr Mahmud. They brought us fruits and sushi. We have no choice but to swallow the non appetizing dish.

At 8.00 pm we said goodbye to Mr Mahmud and we depart for Lahore at 8.30 pmflight.

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11 comments:

pycnogenol said...

I am sorry ikelah if I was in too cheerful a mood at our gathering the other day. I should have been more sensitive to the fact that you were just back from "a place where no man would want to be right now"
I know that I did ask you of your experience there, but I must confess that I was too overwhelmed with joy at meeting some of the bloggers at the gathering (you and family including).
Thank you for sharing with us all your experience. Honestly I feel that the little donation I've made to the victims (our brothers) in Pakistan is all too small a contribution.
Thank you again for the reminder.

Boogey said...

Yes, that`s a very interesting experience you got there. Wish I could join to help them. Yes helping them too often taught some invaluable lessons to ourselves..so I should have said help each other. Ikelah asked me whether I have donated to help the refugees. Yes I have but I have not shared the pain and suffering. I will insyallah. How much should a donation be? In Turkey it`s estimated at least what you yourself normally spend for a good meal. Sharing pain and suffering is different where you give a amount that will strain your budget to the extent that you feel the difficulty. It depends on how much you are willing to share the pain of course. Maybe miss your lunch for a month? Cancel your holiday or more than that perhaps? What is the meaning of sharing the pain if you are still very much comfortable and your life doesn`t change even a bit. Nevertheless, whatever given will still help but let`s be more generous. Perhaps by helping others we are the ones rescued.

dr in the house said...

PERHAPS BY HELPING OTHERS WE ARE THE ONES RESCUED

tee hee...sungguh berpelasampahnya kita pagi ni ada org tu yek...tapi kawe amatlah setuju dgn frasa yg cukup bernas yg sesungguhnya boleh dinobatkan sebagai falsafah teragung dekad ini.

iKelah commented that Beserah's clean air must have done something to your brain, hahaha

Jokes aside, you have said something very valuable...

Pycno- don't worry, you don't have to apologize. Nevertheless you were an exceptional host...sorry but just realized I am answering for ikelah here at his blog...kih kih

Paul Moss said...

Yes yes yes... Interesting photos. They didn`t enchant me but the third and fourth attracted my attention.
If I am a more of a potrait photographer, you must be one into landscape and sceneries. That`s why if you noticed most if not all of my photographs are of capturing human emotions. Therefore my comments are based on the presence or absence of emotions in the composition and not on image quality.
Photo no.1 and 2 would have more impact if there`s a human factor as the object and the distruction as the background.
Photo 2 have a good composition and framing but I would love to see some ruins or traces of destruction at the back ground apart from the mountain. I can`t see his wrinkles. Is it my grafic card?
Can we have someone captured in deep thought overlooking some ruins? It would be difficult without a strong zoom.

Gee said...

paul, i dont know about ur graphic card. nowadays it must have at least 128mb memory, shadow draw, shading capability. at least a geforce 6200 or ati x700.

a simple way to know weather ur graphic card is adequate or not is by trying to play the latest pc games such as battlefield2, sudeki, act of war etc.

otherwise paul, u'll miss the lines on the forehead, the wrinkles and ur 3D graphics is just an enhanced 2D. u'll be making comments on good singers doing audition on a stage using a RM20 microphone, RM100 speakers, RM200 amplifiers!

have to move with latest tech paul.

paul moss said...

Gee, I like you better when you are just smiling. When you start opening your mouth and talk, I look like angels and I don`t like to look like angels with chicken wings and onion rings. I am Paul. So...let me be the nasty one and you just smile and be an angel.
Yes I can`t play battlefield 2 with the present grafic card, so thanks for making me feel like a caveman.
We actually do audition for malaysia idol without using any microphone or speakers. We don`t even use brooms, mops or tin susu with strings. Just pure plain voice.
You were at the audition but you missed the details. My God! I thought you were just trying to look manja and sexy with those look. Never crossed my mind that you were actually dozing off.

pycnogenol said...

Indeed Boogey has said something useful and very valuable up there.
So, anybody care to miss their lunch for a month?? After all, we had just finished fasting in Ramadhan, and would surely have started with 'Puasa Enam.'
Honestly, I like the idea of missing lunch for a month, and have the money donated to the needy instead.
Kalau dah tak tahan sangat lapar nya tu, open houses are everywhere this Syawal. Make sense kan??

crimsonskye said...

i once heard someone saying this: what we give is actually ours. but i thing paul's way of saying it struck even deeper.

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