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Natur's Killing Fields

Natur's Killing Fields

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Published by Tania Saleem
A Page From My Memoir
A Page From My Memoir

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Published by: Tania Saleem on May 01, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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October 8th Earthquake
I was in Karachi when October 8
earthquake came. We had just returned from America. For some reason I missed the coverage of the earthquake on the television. But I used to read full page spread on earthquake published in Urdu daily Ummat.It was June of 2005. My husband was in USA to do a course. He had got permission for my visitto USA as well I had applied for visa to USA Embassy but there was a letter that was to beobtained from somewhere, it got delayed because there was no one to get it signed from there.But eventually when that letter reached Embassy I received my Passport with visa of USAstamped on it within a week. The visa was for almost and half year. I was relieved that myefforts had bore some fruit.I came to Abbotabad in December 2005 just two months after the massive and devastatingearthquake that shook the foundation of many families. Due to this disaster 75000 people losttheir lives and millions were homeless. My husband was living in a guest house on MansehraAbbotabad road. I went to visit him there in my winter break as was our routine since last fiveyears of our marriage.Sitting in the sprawling lush green lawns of the guest house I used to follow many UN vehicles,with my eyes, that were going to Mansehra.On second day of my visit I asked my husband naively ³where are these vehicles going?´³These are going to Mansehra for relief work´.Actually there were hundreds of other vehicles of other national and International organizationsthat were heading in the same direction but UN vehicles were most visible. All these vehicles aregoing to Mansehra, Balakot, Kaghan, Battagram, Kohistan Allai, all of these were earthquakeaffected areas. City of Balakot was the worst hit place as it was completely raised to the ground.While the whole of Hazara and AJK was busy in reconstruction, residents of Balakot wereconfused because of the uncertain future of Balakot and equally uncertain future of New Balakotcity Bakrial where Balakot city was to be moved as Balakot itself was declared Red Zone.
New Destination New Profession
 Life is a journey of unknown destinations. Our actions always lead to unexpected consequences.Journey of her life also started many years ago in Hyderabad, a city once famous for its coldevening breeze and chimneys.Sitting in the office she had seen for the first time, talking to the person she had met for the firsttime; giving interview for the kind of job she would be trying herself in for the first time. Theman sitting in front of him in front of a computer table was a man of shy disposition. He was of dark color.
³I have seen your CV Masha Allah you have rich experience of teaching. This job is not anoffice job but a field intensive job you will have to go to the field a lot. And you will need towrite progress reports as well³I have experience of writing .I have co authored a book.´ I gave him the copy of the book I had just mentioned.³You don¶t have the experience of this kind of job; do you think you will be able to do it?´.Yes off course it¶s not going to be any problem. Not only I said that but I believed in the veracityof this statement."Ok you can join us from tomorrow".I returned to home very happy.Right from my adolescent days I wanted to work in development sector , but back then it wasimpossible for me to pursue a career in development sector. No one in the family would haveallowed me.but now life had given me an opportunity to work in development sector.Although the organization I had joined was a local one but the ambiance was perfect for me , atleast in the beginning.
hild Protection and Empowerment of Adolescents
 On my first day in office I planned a field visit to Banda Sahib Khan village in Havelian whereour NGO had a Child Friendly space as a Unicef partner.It was a half an hour journey from our Field office in Abbottabad.
A Photographer in search of freshly built Graves
 Our donors called our head of operations and he called me to tell me that a Russian photographer was coming to visit our Child Friendly Spaces in Havellian and Battagram. According toschedule we first took him to our child freindly space in Havellian and then to Battagram.On our way to Battagram he kept asking us about the freshly built graves."Six months have passed; in Pakistan no family leaves their loved one's graves kacha after such along time". I explained to him but he desperately wanted to take snaps of freshly built graves. Hewas a good photographer he took some good photographs and offered me to use them if I like butshould give him credit in case I use them.
Rural Housing Reconstruction
 Erra had just started its Rural Reconstruction Program for the earthquake affected communitiesof Hzara and AJK. UN-habitat was providing technical expertise. Our NGO was also given

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