“I am lying on a charpoy. The charpoy was put here specially in this room for me…it was probably someone else’s bed.
I have been given their best quilt – ‘saufi’ (clean)
( I have bed bites all over me – itching like crazy from the Garden Hotel)
The room is full of interesting decorations. Foil hangings and beads on the wall. Floral curtains. A hanging rug with a roaring lion on it. A rush mat designed carpet. The room is painted green and white. There is a display shelf with an incredible mish-mash of accumulated ‘precious’ things. A tacky vase with plastic flowers, a broken coffee grinder, a fan, more plastic flowers, a photo of her husband in an embroidered frame (when he was a young man) more tacky vases and plastic flowers, a gold clock that does not work and photographs of other white friends, of her husband, and their families. I get the feeling he ‘collects’ Western, female friends! Happy to be among them…
A stock of suitcases in one corner covered with a gilded gold, red and blue cloth. A tea towel calendar..1991.
Outside I can hear people sleeping soon and the never ending sound of running water. The younger son’s wife has just come in … to watch me write. Doubtless she finds the right to left as amazing as I find their left to right.
The floods in South Pakistan seem very bad (7 pm news.)
I met a lot of people today. The 4 English, English teachers. very nice girls, but very different journey than me. I do love their life here, their own house, a job, the opportunity to be here and actually respected. I believe it is impossible for one, lone, smoking woman, with no apparent backing or official endorsement to be respected here. This makes me very angry. Perhaps, someday I will return with some position with some kind of social standing, but for now I am nothing, except a ‘bad’ woman. They are soo wrong….Islam again.
I also met some great folk in the Mountain Inn.
A V.S.O worker, another teacher and a man who has been working here the last 2 years….great chats, but I feel, though, that in my so short time here, I am already more in touch with the local people. Of course we all have wisdoms to share, but I have come here with an open, curious heart, which I find folk really respond to, whereas they are all here in order to help, to teach, to build and therefore, incidentally, create a barrier between themselves and this mountain culture. Sometimes I think they could all use more people like me. Someone who might actually ask everyone just what they actually want, instead of assuming superiority…..I feel sure this general attitude over here will lead to problems in the future.
Tomorrow Birer and the promise of fun reunions. We’ll see….”