Yesterday, I experienced my first day in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar, Pakistan. FINALLY!
Finally, I got a chance to visit my beautiful Pakhtun Brothers and Sisters …which is the most important part of my purpose of doing fieldwork in the Northern provinces of Pakistan. Pakhtuns are beautiful, hospitable, and warm, complete opposite of the negative image portrayed in the mainstream West.
I began my morning by returning to the very guest house I stayed in last year and having some chai as well as lunch. Some of the workers there recognized me and they welcomed me positively. They also taught me a lovely Pashto phrase, “Dera Dera Mannana”. Which means “Thank you very much.”
I just got a Pashto phrasebook today from the Saeed Book Bank so I am excited to learn even more Pashto even with the few remaining weeks I have in the North of Pakistan. It will be valuable in Sindh as well, I am certain.
After the guest house stop, I went to go see a Professor, the Director of the Pakistan Studies Center of University of Peshawar, the same person I saw the last time I was in Peshawar. I enjoyed our conversation then and his kindness and hospitality and same was the situation yesterday.
I then stopped for a meeting with the Director General of Revenue who used to work with the FATA Secretariat as well as other development programs, who offered his two cents as well as other contacts.
I ended the day in Peshawar at the PC. I met with a contact from Adam Smith International, with their office based at the Pearl Continental Hotel, which is basically the “Serena” of Peshawar. Regardless, it was a phenomenal interview, and I really found it fascinating to be going from the “katcha abadi’s” of Peshawar to a very prestigious setting in the Defense area. However, I prefer to experience the Katcha abadis to get a real feeling of Pakistan in it’s development.
It seems that every city has a Purana (old) and a Naya (new), and perhaps this is an obvious statement globally, but it just seems more evident and visible or prominent in these major cities in Pakistan.
I am looking forward to more from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and hope to spend more time here in the next few weeks…