An Unforgettable Experience…
“I would be honored to participate in a program like this again because it left me with a changed and broadened perspective. It also introduced me to some of the hardest working and most interesting people I have met. We weren't just their teachers; we were their friends, sisters, family.”
Upon arriving in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, I felt a flurry of emotions. I was amazed by the beauty of the region and the kindness of the people, I was anxious and excited about the challenge that lay ahead of me and often frustrated and deeply saddened by the poverty I saw around me. While teaching, I tried to keep my initial reactions to the region in mind. I got the opportunity to work with nearly two hundred extremely intelligent girls who were coming to class during their holidays in the interest of seizing an opportunity: learning English, practicing with self-confidence and participating in a cultural exchange. The girls were constantly curious about American culture and education and asked many thought provoking questions beyond just the ordinary. While, we, as Youth Ambassadors worked many hours each day to make sure that we were giving the girls the most we could offer, it was really them that took this opportunity and flourished. They were attentive and interested, funny and curious, hard working and relentless. They did not stop at learning about our culture either. Rather they introduced us to theirs. They showed us their local songs and dances and insisted that we participate in them.
The love, respect and compassion they showed us is really not something I can explain in words--it is something deeply felt, that I still feel whenever, I think about those girls and the experience. I would be honored to participate in a program like this again because it left me with a changed and broadened perspective. It also introduced me to some of the hardest working and most interesting people I have met. We weren't just their teachers; we were their friends, sisters, family.
Their kind gestures such as inviting us to visit their families or preparing a surprise meal for us are things I will never forget. Aside from the girls the local team in the Northern Areas also treated us with utmost respect and kindness. They were constantly supportive and encouraging. We could not have done anything without their tireless effort. I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity I received. Upon leaving the Northern Areas,
I realized I had a responsibility to the region. I was to inform my friends, my peers, my family members about what was going on here; about the capacity of the girls, their kindness and respect, and their willingness to spend their short holidays in class, furthering their opportunities. Finally, I hope to encourage others to visit the Northern Areas, to volunteer their time because it is only through firsthand experience that one can truly understand what it is I am simultaneously so passionate, emotional and attached to.