PAKISTAN FLOOD RELIEF DAY 28 PART TWO
Greetings of Peace
Saturday, 18 September 2010. We wrap up distribution in Baajera and head for Jhangera, a few kilometres deeper down the same access road engulfed by flood waters on all sides. That the water level is higher than the day before is obvious; even the current is more intense. We are racing against time both to deliver supplies and in the interest of our own safety.
We reach a NO GO area; the road is submerged here and further up; but we came prepared. “Tractor Trolleys” – a farm tractor attached to an elevated carriage, similar to that used to transport labourers, is waiting for us. The teams, including international footballers, enthusiastically start the process to transfer 12 tons of supplies onto this “state of the art” delivery vehicle. The first team, perched amongst the supplies, move in to set up distribution in a secure compound. As the trolley moves deeper into the water; anxiety, anticipation, tension and then jubilation, “we made it”. The tension is palpable. The wild eyed excitement of animated adults is a stress reliever; make no mistake; this job is not for the faint hearted.
As the second teams loads the next trolley, curious children from surrounding areas aggregate around the vehicles. To us yet another golden opportunity. We put team three to work; organise the kids into single file and roll out the toys and new clothes; even outfits for babies are handed out. Yet again we witness the amazing character of the people of Sindh; excitement is never articulated, it is manifested in the body language and in the eyes; their are no sounds, yet the appreciation and gratitude ais so intense, it can be felt everywhere, and these are little children transmitting this aura. Our souls light up, we are just blown away by the character of these people. Words and pictures don’t do justice to what is experienced. And then an absolutely amazing sight; tens of children running at breakneck speed from way down the road; the news is out, free toys and new clothes, and as we hand them out we know that for the majority of them it’s the first time they receive something new. As we close the distribution and head to Jhangera, the reality of “God is watching, from a distance,…” hits home.
The distribution in Jhangera is well underway; overwhelmed adults are in disbelief that an agency, we being the first, has actually responded to their emergency after all this time. All credit to Mr Ijaz Shah, the town leader who “discovered us” and brought us for a tour just before sunset the previous day. When we asked why does everyone smile in the face of such a huge tragedy; their answer, “what’s the point of being depressed. It only enhances negativity. We have faith in God Almighty”. Indeed a humbling experience, a lesson in fortitude and resilience. It is a myth that we are “giving”, actually we are “receiving”.
And so comes to end another memorable distribution. The sun has set; we have flooded waters to cross; international footballers have a flight to catch and so Karachi it is. We leave with a lump in our throats; our humanity was enriched here. We’re coming back, soon.
Dr Imtiaz Sooliman
Chairman and Founder