I’ve been back in Islamabad for 10 days. During that time, the following things have happened:
The development project I work on was denied funding by the U.S. government and has been told to close down.
I accidently bought a $15 pint of ice cream.
Now to explain. I know, it’s shocking. But the groceries aren’t always well-labeled at Esajee grocery store and it wasn’t until I got home that I looked at the receipt and saw that my tiny carton of ice cream cost 1195 rupees. (A solid week’s salary for the average Pakistani domestic worker.)
The pint in question was Haagen-Dazs “Reserve” in Pomegranate Chip, and it seemed like just the thing to have after the Lebanese take-out that my friends and I would be ordering for dinner later. The funny thing is, it’s the same kind of ice cream that was sent to me for free on dry ice in the mail two years ago when the company rolled out the brand and wanted to get attention. The lesson here is that nothing–ever–is free. You’ll have to pay for it eventually.
You’re probably waiting to hear more about that other thing too. Yes, development work in Pakistan is a little volatile these days. Sometimes it’s unclear who’s calling the shots, exactly. Don’t worry about me though: there is still significantly more employment available for Americans here than in the U.S. these days, and I’ve already received offers to transition to other projects to do basically the same thing. But of course it’s rough when something ends that you have worked hard on for months, and I am especially concerned about my staff (hired only 3 months ago) and helping them find new jobs.
But I’m not ready to give up on my Pakistan adventure just yet (certainly not before I get the full year in on my resume), and I’m still firmly adhering to my lifelong motto, “Everything works out in the end.” Oh, and the ice cream was delicious. Just the thing.