The Pakistan Chapter is Ending…..
After a year and a half, it is approaching time to bid Pakistan, and my time as the Aussie in Lahore a farewell. Very soon I shall be heading back to Oz to work out the next chapter in the journey of life, and it comes with bitter-sweet emotions…
From back almost two years ago when this decision was being made, the comments of “Why?”, “You’re mad,” and “Don’t do it!” are all lost in insignificance…I knew exactly what I was in for, I knew Pakistan, I knew that it had some challenges and pretty bad PR programs working against it in the global world, but hey, it all worked out..and I survived, my family survived and I’m still here to speak fondly of the place and the people.
I have met, worked with and become associated with some amazing people. People who hardly knew me, yet would do anything for me without question, more than I can say for many people I have come across back home over my life. This is where the Pakistan Image problem exists, the people are generally caring, friendly and extremely helpful, especially to foreigner..Yes they stare, take photos, maybe follow up, talk to you, want you to join then for a tea etc, but the number of people who have randomly thanked me for being here has been amazing. Given the fact they don’t have a lot of foreigners around, it is an exciting prospect for them, it shows people may be willing to come here, to help shed their bad image. This is where the unseen CNN and mainstream media reviews fail, fail in showing this human side.
Sure there are frustrations – the power outages, the traffic, the crazy, crazy traffic and zero rules, corruption at so many levels, the unashamedly continual requests from people you hardly know for money or a visa/ job in Australia etc, but again you have to remember this is not Australia, this is not a 1st world country and they do it tough…where the minimum wage is like $AUD 150 per month, and that’s if your lucky to have a job, I have no idea how people live on that, so I guess you have to sometimes grow a set of balls and blatantly ask someone, who most probably has more money than you! But, as frustrated as I have gotten over my time here, I do get humbled by the people I have met and worked with.
Whilst I don’t make it a policy or habit of befriending people at work as a common rule, or by that I mean getting myself in situations where they may abuse or misunderstand the relationship, I have had some great times and close relationships with many within the business which I will cherish. This has all come to a head this week where I have been bringing together my teams from around the country in a cricket tournament, the passion, support and bonding that an event like this has had with the team, the staff and giving back a small part to the people who have meant so much to me here has been great to watch.
So, as the time here winds down, I shall use my last days here to ensure time is spent with those whom have helped and supported me, and to get to say a personal farewell to as many as can in the time remaining….
Pakistan, pardon the pun, but it’s been a ‘blast’….
Aussie in Lahore…