Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pakistani Hospitality at its Best

Tonight at 10:00pm, my doorbell rang. "Strange hour for folks to be visiting," I thought. Especially considering I go to sleep around 9:30 or 10:00.

I looked downstairs into the pitch black to see the forms of two men. One was carrying a big tray wrapped in a towel. I figured it would be safe to talk to them from behind my locked metal gate and see what they wanted. Usually beggars don't come bearing gifts.

I threw on my dupatta and grabbed by mobile in case I needed to call someone. I said, "Kaun hai?" "Aap log kia chahiye?" (Who are you? What do you want?) They spoke quickly and said someting about "bajji" who lives across the street. Without bajji being in sight I was apprehensive to open the gate. Sure enough, after about 60 seconds bajji made her way across the street and I opened the gate.

She introduced herself with a big smile and said she had sent some food for me. As I peered under the towel I saw two humungous plates of rice! One was biryani, a salty dish, and one was sweet rice that they usually eat for dessert. I said, "Oh! Yih pure hafte ka khana hai!" (Oh! This is a whole week's worth of food!") She smiled and said, "Aram se khaye." That translates to something like eat it and relax/you don't have to eat it quickly. We had some small talk and exchanged a hearty handshake.

I tasted a morsel of the chicken, and mmm it was delicious. Not too spicy. Duarte, there will probably be some left in the freezer when you arrive.

I'm looking forward to get to know the new neighbors! I'll have to make sure to visit them on an empty stomach.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Gender Bias in Pakistan

The uproar created by the hard-line Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) party, in response to a bill regarding women's rights, clearly highlights the fact that gender bias is alive and well in Pakistan. The bill, introduced in November 2006, sought to give greater inheritance rights to women, create a path for legal action against spurious divorces, and to criminalize widespread cultural practices that discriminate against women. Some of the current practices that the MMA wishes to uphold include the following.

1.Inheritance Laws

According to the Qur'an, women receive half the property that men do in inheritance law. In Pakistan, most women are expected to give up even their half share of property to their brothers out of "respect," but in rural society it means that basically gets NO share of the inheritance. Many people will argue that getting a half-share of property is better than getting no share of property, which may have been the common practice regarding women in pre-Islamic times.

Read full article here

The Role of Silence in Corporate Prayer

For the past several years I have been an active member of different Christian sub-cultures in New England. Silence has an important place in corporate gatherings of prayer and worship, and extended periods of silence tend to be comfortable whereas they would tend to be awkward in most other settings. There are three exercises in prayer that seem to have distinct uses of silence: meditative prayer, prophetic prayer, and intercessory prayer.

"But the LORD is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him."

Habakkuk 2:20

Read full article here

Moving Abroad and Hiring a Maid

To most Americans, the idea of having house help is a luxury. But in many developing countries, anyone who can afford to will keep at least one domestic helper. Many households have several paid servants. There can be a maid, a nanny, a cook, a driver, a gardener, an errand boy, and a guard all working full time in the same house. If you're an expatriate living overseas and most upper and middle class families in your host country employ house help, you'd probably be best to do the same.

When I first came to South Asia, the idea of having a maid was not something I liked. I thought, "I can do it all myself, just like I do when I'm in America." Well in America we have washing machines. We have dryers. We don't need to iron our clothes every day. We might even have a dishwasher. We certainly do not have as generous a helping of dust as Asian countries have. Living overseas our house needs to be dusted, swept and mopped every single day. I was spending hours a day washing clothes in buckets and attempting to iron them in the 120-degree heat. I finally gave in and hired someone to help.

Continue reading here

Sunday, July 20, 2008

AIE Summer Classes

Here's me with two of my language improvement program students.

Coping with Pakistan's Energy Crisis

As power cuts are getting worse and worse I've had to think of creative ways to beat the heat.

Read more about it here

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Summer Workshops 2008

I’d like to let you know about my upcoming workshops being offered at Ali Institute of Education. If you know anyone who you think would benefit from these workshops please let them know. All workshop participants must have at least high-intermediate English as the entire course will be conducted in English.

Creative Writing

Dates: July 7 – July 19
Days: Monday to Saturday
Timing: 9am-12pm
Total Hours: 36
Cost: 3000 rupees
Course Details

Great for anyone who wants to improve their own creative writing or learn how to effectively teach creative writing skills for grade 6 and up.

**Sign up now!**

There are only a small number of participants registered for this course. It is the summer workshop I am most excited about. I have created all new material and practical teacher-resources that would be of great use in your English classroom. This workshop is broken up into 4 mini units of 3 days each. You can join for only one or two units at a discounted price.

Learn Grammar by Having Fun

Dates: July 21 – 26
Days: Monday to Saturday
Timing: 9am-12pm
Total Hours: 18
Cost: 2000 rupees
Course Details

Improve your understanding of verb tense and parts of speech in English while doing interactive activities and playing fun games. Designed for both language students and teachers.

English Teaching Skills

Dates: July 29-Aug 1
Days: Tuesday to Friday
Timing: 9am-12pm
Total Hours: 12
Cost: 2000 rupees
Course Details

Understand the basics of English language teaching in this intensive four-day workshop.

For any of the workshops contact:
Naima Qureshi
Ali Institute of Education

Ali Institute of Education is located off of Ferozepur Road, near Gulab Devi Hospital.

Corruption and Car Theft

Having my car stolen really opened my eyes to the depths of corruption in this society. Read more about it here:

Car Theft in Pakistan