Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hello Peshawar Pakistan, Part 1

Todd, Terri, Kevin and Dad in Pakistan
So our very long distance journey to Peshawar, Pakistan began. We went from Charleston, South Carolina to Madrid, Spain. We stayed there for a couple days then went on to Saudi Arabia for a brief layover and then on to Karachi, West Pakistan. Out of Charleston we rode on a huge C-5A military airplane. Lackland AFB in San Antonio, south of where we live, has these planes and they still fly in and out of there, 50 years later. The sound they make is unmistakable.   I can still remember when we got on the plane, the military people showed us where to sit and gave each one of us a box meal. This was to hold us over until we got to Spain. We thought those box meals were so much fun. They were made for the crew and as I recall, some came with cigarettes, that they removed before giving the boxes to us. They even had gum, which was a special treat on a plane. Probably to help our ears pop.

During our travels, my two brothers and I got very sick. We got what the locals called the PID’s or Pakistani International Disease. Basically, running from both ends. My mom needed to get us medical attention, but did not know where to begin. She knew we needed to get to the embassy, there in Karachi, to see a doctor. Here she was, alone with three sick children, in a foreign country. That had to be overwhelming. But the Lord provides! A very nice sergeant came to our rescue. Sgt. Boyd, who was staying at the same place we were, volunteered to go with us to the embassy. All five of us, plus the driver, were stuffed into a little taxi and were off to get help. It is a miracle that we lived through the taxi ride. This driver was all over the road and the sidewalks. But we made it, were seen by the doctor, got medicine and went back to the hotel. I think that was our first experience with enemas. Yuck! Poor mom!  Sgt. Boyd's family eventually came over to Pakistan, too, and they lived down the street behind us.

We finally got to Peshawar and what a different place this was. As we saw over the two years we were there, this culture differed greatly from ours. It was very dirty for one thing. They would hang their meat out in the open and it would be covered with flies but they would still eat it. We arrived at the end of one of their wars and the windows in our base house were painted black to keep light from showing through. We also had a dug out area in our back yard where people could take cover, if necessary. We left at the beginning of another war. 

Google Earth view of the base in Peshawar, Pakistan.
The red arrow indicates what was our house.

My best friend in Pakistan was Cornelia Raderrauch. She was the daughter of a German family that was also stationed at the air base. I got to go home with her one weekend and got yet another culture shock. Her parents did not speak English so she translated for me. When we sat down for breakfast the first morning, her mother had fixed 3 minute eggs. Basically they were raw and I had never eaten a raw egg before so was not sure what to do. It was still in the shell on this little pedestal. I must say I learned a lot that weekend.

We had two Pakistani guys who worked for us but never on the same day. One did the gardening and one the housework. They were of different religions and didn't like each other, so there was no way they could work together. Qadduce was the gardener and he definitely had a green thumb. We could not get vegetables in Pakistan because by the time they were transported and arrived on the base, they would be rotten. So growing our own was the only option for us to have fresh produce. However, the fertilizer they used was not like here in America, so everything grown had to be washed in a clorox mixture before we could eat it. I am so thankful we don't have to do that here.

Daniel, the man who worked inside, used to cook his lunch there and it would always smell so good. He used a lot of curry. He would sit my little brother up on the counter with him and let him "help" cook. He asked us to come to his house for dinner one time. We went, and even as a kid I was struck by the small room that they called home but they were so proud of it. The room had a small trough that led outside where they could use the bathroom and there was a larger trough running down the middle of the street, where the culmination of many homes converged. I remember thinking that I was a very lucky girl to be able to go home to my own bedroom in a full sized house. That made a permanent impression on my life. 

Today's Terri's Tidbit:  Do you use Google Earth?  They have now made Google Earth Pro free to the public and it has lots more features than the original.  Check it out here and find some of the places you used to live.

No comments: