My Trip to Pakistan Part 1

Malee
Posted May 6, 2016 from United States
Meeting the Girls
This picture is of when I first met the girls after arriving in Pakistan. They all were there waiting for me but did not know what time I would be arriving for security purposes. It was wonderful and joyous : ) I miss them so much! I have a video of this first meeting that I will share in the future. I still have yet to get all my videos and pictures organized from the trip!

So this first post that I am blogging about Pakistan may be brief but I wanted to get started talking about my trip and the work that I have been helping Sister Zeph with. I know it has been a long time since I have blogged on World Pulse but honestly I was going through my own issues and getting ready for this trip to Pakistan that I was just on. Honestly I was getting ready for this trip 5 weeks in advance. I didn't know for certain if my application to get a Visa would be approved or not.

Right now it is very late but I feel compelled to write this blog before I become busy again.

Some background information:

Sister Zeph and I have been working together for 14 months now. I found her on Facebook when I was following Malala Youszafzai. Malala had posted a video that was created by Channel News Asia about Sister Zeph and her school and I happened to be looking and watched the documentary. At that moment I felt my heart was telling me to reach out to her and donate. I did just that and I have not stopped helping her ever since. Sister Zeph and I are soul sisters as we like to call each other.

Very quickly our bond grew very close and strong and before I knew it I was teaching classes every week to the girls at her school. I started out teaching them art and then the subjects got wider and more varied. The classes I have been teaching and the getting to know the girls are another blog entirely... or blogs...

I don't know where to begin other than Sister Zeph tried coming to America last year and her Visa was denied twice. This was devastating for everyone because we all were so much anticipating her arrival and stay here. I was going to have her stay with me for a some time and then I was going to drive her down to San Francisco to a conference.

So, I was determined to meet her and after her attempts at coming to America failed I decided that I would attempt to go see her and the girls... but even making this decision was not easy for me. At the time I was working at a job that was wearing me down completely and I just knew that I needed to travel oversees but at first I was scared to travel to Pakistan/ India... I say India because I actually was considering travelling over there alone... until I did some research and quickly realized that - that was not the wisest of choices on my part. So I forgot about travelling to India/ Pakistan and set my sights on Europe... at first it was fun planning it but my heart was not in it honestly...

Very quickly I set my mind and heart back to Pakistan. Was I aware of the dangers? Yes. Was I aware of how ludicrous everyone would think my decision was? Yes... but I am a very independent, strong willed, and open minded person and I always have been. I watched dozens of documentaries about Pakistan. I bought books about Pakistan. I spent $100 on Urdu lessons so I could at least learn the basics of the language before going over there. I read blogs... everything. I stayed in close contact with Rifat, her family, and the girls at her school. I even followed other people that had been to Pakistan including a girl younger than me from Canada that went there for 1 year to study.

Getting my visa was surprisingly easy, it only took 3 weeks. Then I bought my airplane ticket and put a budget aside for my trip. I prepared lesson plans for the girls just in case. I was contacted along with Rifat by a company called Labdoo and they donated 4 laptops to the school which I brought with me. I also brought with me artwork, a world map, books, school supplies, and I ordered art supplies from a local supplier before I even got on the plane.

I made sure all clothes that I packed were befitting of the country and I made sure not to pack too many clothes because I planned on shopping while I was there and I knew that Rifat and the girls were making me clothes because it is their tradition. As the days counted down I would find myself lost in thought about the trip but I still kept it a pretty well guarded secret but soon people in my family and circle figured everything out and as I suspected - most people were afraid for my life.

Just one day before I left for my trip someone rear ended me and the Easter Park bombing happened in Lahore - where I was to be flying in... my mother and grandmother were terrified and telling me not to go but I listened to my heart and I went anyways. It was a long trip there- about 30 hours total. I took a plane from Portland to San Francisco- then to Istanbul, Turkey and then from there to Lahore, Pakistan...

To be Continued....

Comments 5

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Sister Zeph
May 06, 2016
May 06, 2016

My dearest Malee 

Thank you for starting writing about this trip I know you have so much to tell the world when I was reading this blog I felt myself lost into those days every day passed very fast I could not realize that every moment was very precious.

now when I am thinking of your trip it makes me cry with joy and honor because it was not easy for you to come here because every one in your surrounding thought you will not come back alive, but now you are a witness for many around the world that Pakistan is a peaceful country and our people love and care although you have to face many issues because of differences in our culture but we all love you and thankful to you for every thing what you did for the center and for the girls. you are a really brave girl it was not an easy decision to come here but you did it 

Next time when you will come here you will enjoy it more because  now  you know the culture more 

remember we all love you so much looking forward to read more blogs from you 

Olaoluwa Abagun
May 06, 2016
May 06, 2016

Dear Malee,

Its amazing how a digital platform like Facebook served as a powerful thread, linking you to your soul sister Zeph! This is such a practical example of what World Pulse achieves everyday :)

I am rooting for you all the way from Nigeria and celebrating your courage to travel to Pakistan, bearing the knowledge of the dangers. From the tone of your story, you would make that decision all over again if you had to! You are so bold.

I would be waiting to hear about your work with the girls in Pakistan and the concluding part of your long trip.

helen.ng
May 07, 2016
May 07, 2016

Hello Malee,

Thank you for sharing your experiences! It's empowering and exciting to hear about how you were able to broaden your horizons by visiting Pakistan. 

I also love how you mentioned Malala Yousafzai! She is truly the embodiment of courage,inspiration, and intelligence, and serves as a role model for females and children not only in Pakistan, but other areas ruled by the Taliban and nations all over the world.

I can't wait to hear more about your trip!

With kindest regards,

Helen Ng

Jensine Larsen
May 08, 2016
May 08, 2016

Dear Malee - What a powerful writing.  What an adventure!  Welcome home, though i know your heart is still with Sister Zeph and the girls.   We'd love to invite you to visit the World Pulse offices to share your experiences with our team and exchange ideas for how we can all support Sister Zeph in this time.

When can you come in?

Love,

Malee
May 10, 2016
May 10, 2016

Jensine- I will message you on here- check your messages soon. Thank you