Pakistan: In the heat of the moment

28 June 2012 at 09:00 10 comments

By Anya Raza | KF18 | Pakistan

Amid awkward applause upon our arrival to Pakistan, I abandon the safety of the aircraft thick with the aroma of curry to be welcomed into a city veiled by yet another blackout.

Despite my 2 a.m. arrival, I’m received with big smiles and a plate full of mouth-watering nihari, a local breakfast delicacy.

Pakistan, a country known for its blatant contradictions — political and cultural — is an exciting place to arrive as a Kiva Fellow.

Within just a few hours, the Pakistani public is taking to the streets, protesting the daily 18 hour power outages. Simultaneously, politicians debate in the permanently air-conditioned parliament whether a controversial ex-minister, also known as Raja Rental, should join the current president, Mr. Ten Percent, as the new Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, a Kiva Fellow moves into the heart of Pakistan, Lahore.

Legend has it that the city of Lahore was once aptly known as Lavapuri, or the city of Lava. Lahore currently offers scorching temperatures of up to 53°C degrees (127°F for my American friends), with destructive monsoon rains only a fortnight away. With blackouts every alternate hour, modern solutions include soaking bed sheets in water and mummifying oneself into a cool state of slumber.

As I transport myself through the majestic streets of the Raj, I can’t help but look at the children playing in the canal with envy, as they cannonball their way through the summer without a care in the world. I wonder how much of an uproar it would cause if I too, would jump out of my car, and cannonball among these kindred spirits under the protective shade of the poplar trees, only to then scamper off to my MFI for my first day of work.

Photo courtesy of Daily11.

A little respite from the heat. More pictures can be found here.

Asasah, Kiva’s oldest partner in Pakistan, has never had a Kiva Fellow before due to security concerns. With an impressive portfolio of more than 25,500 entrepreneurs supported with over $5.5 million loans funded through Kiva, I find myself eager to meet the people who made this happen.

I wonder what my first day will be like.

Anya Raza is a Kiva Fellow stationed at Asasah, a microfinance institution. You can lend to one of Asasah’s borrowers here, and keep reading Anya’s posts to learn more about the organization and the many borrowers it helps fund.

Entry filed under: blogsherpa, KF18 (Kiva Fellows 18th Class), Pakistan, Updates from the Field. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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10 Comments

  • 1. Fauzia  |  9 August 2012 at 06:58

    Thank you so much for providing these posts – I have several loans to Pakistan and always wanted them to be something more than remote. It takes a lot of courage to venture into the unknown, especially when the unknown is personally difficult on so many levels. I admire you for it and hope you continue posting your stories. Will keep checking! :-)

  • 2. tabinda alkans jaffery  |  19 July 2012 at 23:44

    Dear
    Great to hear about pakistan
    keep posted

  • 3. Vahan  |  18 July 2012 at 20:57

    This is a great initiative Anya! Please keep up posted on your experience. I will be happy to assist. All the very best from Canada

  • 4. Welcome (back) to Pakistan « Anya's blog  |  18 July 2012 at 03:46

    [...] a moment to read my first blog for Kiva here. Placing my picture on the Pakistan map as part of the Kiva Fellowship [...]

  • [...] Pakistan: In the Heat of the Moment Anya Raza | KF18 | Pakistan As she exits her plane and enters the unique, contradictory, and sweltering city of Lahore, Anya contemplates what it will be like to be the first Kiva Fellow to serve in Pakistan. [...]

  • 6. luannio  |  30 June 2012 at 08:48

    Stoere chick!! Enjoy being home away from home. Dikke kus X

  • 7. Eduardo Emanuele papa  |  29 June 2012 at 20:10

    Joining you in your great effort from far distances. Keep up with your wonderful job, great enthusiasm and gigantic pakistany (if I write it right) spirit.

  • 8. kiva1varick  |  29 June 2012 at 03:34

    Definitely, go for the cannonball…great imagery and contrasts.

  • 9. wardlassoe  |  28 June 2012 at 11:54

    I want to see a shot of you cannonballing into that water before you leave Lahore!

  • 10. Kevin  |  28 June 2012 at 09:44

    I’m already eager to hear more :)


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