So, I’m sorry I’ve been quiet for the past couple of days, I’ve been catching up and running around…
On Wednesday and Thursday we exhibited our ideas for Shelter solutions in Lower Sindh at the UN Habitat National Conference on Learning from Disasters. It was a fabulous event with lots of people speaking about their various experiences in Pakistan, from the 2005 Earthquake to the 2011 Monsoons… Pakistan has been hit, again and again by really nasty natural disasters. These have been compounded by the political disasters that keep hitting the country. There were brilliant speakers at the event including the former head of the NDMA, National Disaster Management Authority: Lt. Gen. (Retd) Nadeem Ahmed. He resigned last year from the NDMA, and it seems to be a great pity, as he incredibly passionate about protecting and preparing his country from disasters. He is very knowledgeable about all the risks that face his homeland.
Other than him, there were numerous other speakers of great note… The two that shouldn’t have spoken, but did, were the MFI and the MFST who did not add to the value of the event, except to create some uncomfortable giggles! I’ll explain those terms later!
Yesterday Jackie, a nutrition colleague of mine, and I went for a stroll to the local market, it was a beautiful day and we pottered about for a while in the square in F6 which has a number of different shops selling local and international clothes, trinkets and bits and pieces. We came back to our guesthouse and sat on the lovely open air balcony that I have exclusive access to off my room! We drank green tea and ate dried appricots, pistachios and little titbits made of honeycomb and sesame seeds…Oh yeah, and fresh chocolate croissants. We played BBC Radio 1 on the computer and chilled out. A lovely relaxing day.
Mark, another colleague, who works as a WASH adviser for Save the Children (Water, Sanitation and Health – or civil engineer with experience of latrines!), arrived back from his visit to lower Sindh yesterday evening. He’s also staying at the same guesthouse as Jackie and I.
Last night there was an NGO party on at a house in E7. (Islamabad is planned city all laid out in a controlled grid system, very easy to find everything – each grid is probably about 2km by 2km in size)So Jackie, Mark and I had some relaxing drinks in my room and on the deck for a while. Jackie and Mark indulging in some moonshine… I’m on the wagon in Pakistan! 🙂 I stuck to the Green Tea… Anyway, after we were warmed up with our preparatory drinks, we took a local taxi to the party, travelling via the flower market to pick up some beautiful fresh flowers for the birthday girl at the party. It’s fun going to the flower market, they have beautiful flowers, gorgeously exotic… I’ll take some photos and post.
Anyway, I got to the party and wandered around for a bit. A beautiful house and garden with pretty, daisy-chain lights in the trees… It was a gorgeous, clear night with beautiful stars in the sky… But I guess this teetotal thing is not conducive to making small talk.. I wasn’t in the mood to stay, so I did a really, really bad thing… I scarpered! And I walked home! REALLY not a good idea! There was a mugging in Saidpur Valley yesterday – three UN employees and an Embassy staffer were out hiking around the area of the Margalla hills and were held up at gunpoint. They are fine, uninjured except for their wallets and their pride. The route that I walked home was straight down Margalla Road, immediately adjacent to the area where the people were mugged – so pretty, bloody stupid! All’s well that ends well though, I walked home swiftly and stayed close to where the security gaurds were. Each house has a security man posted outside, and these houses are right next to each other. But, I’m not going to do anything that stupid again, Inshallah!
Jackie and Mark arrived back to the guesthouse at 4am and gave a knock on my door. They were in fine fettle! We had a good old giggle in the room, probably waking half the guesthouse! Jackie was telling the stories of how Mark had been trying to hit on all the ladies at the party. She did little schmoozy dance moves to demonstrate his smooth techniques with the Laydeez using great little improvised sounds from the 70s, click here for a slightly edited version of Jackie’s sound today! 😀 Jackie