Sunday, June 12, 2011
The Smell of Home
First, the good news. On Thursday, June 9th at 6:30 p.m. a beautiful baby came to life. My mamu had a daughter! I now have one more cousin from my mother’s side. Yay for population growth … I think. The yet-to-be-named baby is resting in the Bach Christian Hospital, the same missionary hospital in which I was born 20 years ago. All the doctors and nurses there are Christian and have learned the native languages of Hindko, Urdu, Punjabi, Pushto, and more. Their main mission is to serve the people of the village for a reduced cost, as a lot of the care receivers cannot afford the medical bills of the city.
The second good news is that I now have high-speed Internet – used to be a rarity and/or impossibility in the mountains. But clearly technology has advanced, as I can get wifi signal now. Instead of dial-up, I have “DSL.” This means more blogging, more often. And more Facebooking, of course. :-)
My days are going by just like that. It’s been three weeks and I hardly even noticed. I feel so unaccomplished. Back at Bowdoin, my life is so structured – iCal tells me what to do and where to be during all hours of the day. Here, I’ve lost a sense of time. I stay up late at night chatting with friends and family. I wake up late in the afternoon, past lunchtime. I sometimes eat breakfast, and sometimes lunch. Sometimes I miss both and just eat dinner. I have lost all appetite. And I think it’s the heat that’s getting to me. When electricity goes out, it’s hard to be productive and I don’t feel like eating when I feel hot.
Today, I want out with my cousins, bhabis (wives of brothers or first male cousins), and their children (my nephews/nieces). I had complained earlier to my cousins that the only places I have “seen” in my native country are Mansehra and Abbottabad. So today I was able to explore some of these rural areas. I went by the riverside and played in the water with my adorable nephews and nieces. Then we went atop a gorgeous mountain in Bala Kot (you may remember that name from the headlines that came about from the 2004 earthquake) and saw all of Mansehra below. It was breathtaking! Reminded me of the experience in Antigua, Guatemala, when we hiked a hill and saw the entire city below – a reward worth the endurance. I had a great time today. I was actually becoming bored in my house. I’m glad I went out for a fresh breath of air, which mostly smelled of dung (manure). Felt at home finally.