On Friday, July 28th, my father and I were invited for yet another dawat—a formal invitation for dinner. This dawat was by Americans.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve heard of “Dr. Luke” and how he has saved thousands of lives. Dr. Luke is a famous doctor at the Bach Christian Hospital, a missionary hospital located in Qalanadarabad, my town. I, too, was born there. The hospital was established in 1956. Dr. Luke’s father was among the many who established the hospital with the vision of helping the poor. Dr. Luke, from Norfolk, Virginia, has dedicated over 36 years of his life to this hospital. It is no wonder that my entire village and town know him. And he, too, knows all the townspeople. I have forever wanted to meet this famous doctor.
Our dawat on Friday was at Dr. Luke’s house, located within and behind the hospital. It was wonderful to meet him and his wife, Nancy, both of whom were very hospitable—no pun intended—to us. I took this opportunity to interview Dr. Luke because I find his story fascinating. These folks, who could be making hundreds of thousands of dollars in America decided to live in Pakistan, in my town, helping the poor. Their gesture is highly commendable and very respected. What they are doing is truly inspiring.
I learned that their four sons all grew up here. How cool is that? Imagine goras (white people) speaking Urdu. How weird is that? It’s like seeing apples grow in the ground instead of trees. Strange no? I’m not ignorant; I know we live in a globalized world, it definitely feels out of context. I never imagined East meeting the West in this way. It was so beautiful to see Dr. Luke and Dr. Nancy wear salwar-kameez, speak Urdu, and adopt the Pakistani culture. If only more people understood my culture the way that the doctors of the Bach Christian hospital do. If only the perception that Americans have of Pakistan were not negative.
I had a great time with Dr. Luke and Dr. Nancy. They are the definition of what goodness means in the world. It is people like Dr. Luke and Dr. Nancy who are helping bridge the gap of misunderstanding between those who are less educated. Given the relations between America and Pakistan, Islamophobia in the West, and general fear of the “other” in the world, it is important to be open-minded so that we can all live peacefully. I was and still am impressed by the continued efforts of the Bach Christian Hospital doctors and nurses. A simply ‘thank you’ is just not enough.