Saturday, January 21, 2006


Posted from Pakistan on January 19, 2006
By Katie Roland, Marketing & Communications Director

We stepped off the plane into the warm, misty Pakistan morning. When I left New York, temperatures were barely above freezing and I expected the thermostat to be even colder here. Today, however, we have 60 degrees of sunshine -- a perfect climate in which to experience the colorful energy of the Pakistani people.

The sights and smells of Islamabad greeted me within seconds of exiting the airport: cars merged into one heap, trying to escape the airport parking lot, lively women in brightly colored tunics selling a rainbow of decorative souvenirs, savory meats and seasoned rice simmering in booths, waiting to be purchased and enjoyed by anyone passing by.

In the distance, we could see a beautiful backdrop of mountains -- a majestic, serene contrast to the hustle and bustle before us.

I’m traveling with my co-worker, Amber Johnson, from World Vision’s Chicago office. We arrived today in Islamabad after nearly 16 hours in the air and a six-hour layover in London. I’m told that we crossed 11 time zones on this journey! And after a full day of briefings, training, and unpacking, I’m certainly beginning to feel the time difference catching up with me.

We began our day at the World Vision Pakistan office where our hospitable staff briefed us on World Vision’s ongoing programs and emergency response efforts. We saw firsthand the survival kits that World Vision is distributing to earthquake survivors and learned that in some regions World Vision is moving into the rehabilitation phase of the response, while in other regions we still need to distribute basic necessities, such as food and winterized tents.

Just last week, World Vision Pakistan staff found 4,000 people who had not yet been reached since the October 8 earthquake turned their world upside down. It was encouraging to hear that even three months after the disaster struck, our team is still searching for pockets of isolated people, looking to help wherever we are needed most. Providing simple resources, such as a food pack or emergency kerosene stoves (pictured at left) will enable families to survive throughout the winter.

In just a few short hours since my arrival, I have been awed by the respectfulness and courtesy of the Pakistani people and I am very thankful for the hospitality and professionalism of the World Vision Pakistan staff. It has been a joy to learn more about this city and World Vision's earthquake response programs in such a beautiful setting. But, we'll need to enjoy the warmer temperatures while we can. In a few short days we’ll face the more extreme cold when we head to World Vision's programs in the high-altitude villages.

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