3 weeks ago
|Severly Malnourished Child, Larkana, Sindh|
I haven't posted for a while, as I decided I'd make a move to learn a new part of the world. Life has been going well, I passed the academic year at Cambridge, and decided it was time to get on the road again. I'm personally burnt out on the Middle East, and everybody is now an 'expert'. I enjoyed my time there, but like everybody who has covered conflict, I suppose I spent too long going round in circles looking to recreate the effect Bosnia and Kosovo had on me. Never a day goes bye, and I don't think of the war years. I must confess I've never really got over them, and every mess I've made since then has been linked to this inability to move on and stop mourning the past, "my war gone bye, how I miss it so..."
Children living in a school building after loosing their home to the waters
So, a bit of soul searching and conversation with friends from the old days, I decided to learn South Asia, well to be more precise, Pakistan. I have a painful desire to go to Afghanistan, but have held off because of the level of control imposed on your movements, reporting, and what you can actually get. I will go, but Pakistan has always fascinated me, and here I am. Every province is like a conflict within a conflict, everything is different, but interlinked. What some guy threatens to do in the US decides if you can venture out from behind the wall. It is complex, fascinating, incredibley beautiful, there are mountains, and god, do I need mountains! The people are incredibly friendly, and at the same time the challenge can be how inaccessible the culture can be; it can be in front of you, but you may as well be a 1000 miles away at times. So the first chance that came, I took it and here I am, currently in Sukkur, trying to get my head round the tribal system and security risks in the areas towards Baluchistan.
The floods, which are on a scale that cannot even be comprehended, even don't sink in when you see them. You can think that as the human race is capable of mind numbing destruction, but in the end natural forces can obliterate all. It is deeply humbling to realise this. 21 million people have been affected, but you cannot see it all at once, so it doesn't really sink in. For now, people have survived, but they are reliant on assistance, and if that doesn't materialise, it will become unstable; this is the risk, the clock is ticking, but still malnutrition runs at 20% in the children in Upper Sindh. This can only get worse. So, as I stated, I planned to come here, to get to know and hopefully, dream of understanding Pakistan. Self desire faced with real tragedy makes for a brutal learning curve...