April 2012 - Sonia Shah Organization


Living with relatives in the village

I am living with relatives in the village, and their house is simple but beautiful. There are trees in the small central courtyard, and it is actually a very enjoyable place to be when the electricity is on and the fans are working. Pakistan is now approaching its hottest time of the year, and the electricity supply (especially in rural areas) is inconsistent. In Kangra, most of the afternoon and night goes by without electricity, and we are then reduced to using hand fans and finding shady areas to sit in our attempts to beat the heat. The villagers have a complicated system of regular electricity, a petrol-powered generator, and a UPS (no one I’ve asked knows what it stands for, but its a battery powered generator that charges during the hours that there is electricity). Even with these three different systems, we probably go at least six waking hours and most of the night without any electricity whatsoever. Even in the cities the electricity is unreliable. The electricity here in Peshawar has already cut out twice since I started writing this post (thank God for auto-save!). Regardless of the heat and shortage of electricity, the village is a peaceful place, and I enjoy sitting on the verandah watching the chickens do crazy things (yesterday one knocked off the clothes drying on clothesline, and had to be helped out of the shirt it found itself in). My only complaint would be having to wrap up in the chadar whenever I go outside. Even the lightest chadar can feel heavy and hot in the midday heat, and I feel awkward and uncomfortable wrapping the cloth over my hair and face. Since its something I’m not used to, I always manage to wrap it wrong and then I’m stuck trying to re-wrap it while all the other women walk serenely by. Its a very different life, but its interesting and relaxing in many ways.


New Developments

The last three weeks or so from the time of my last post http://sildenafildosage.com/ have been busy. We could no longer use the land we had originally planned to build on, and so a new location had to be found. New estimates and blueprints also had to be drawn up, as the old plans couldn’t be used in the new location. The land has been surveyed, and contractors are now finally beginning to clear trees and brush in preparation for construction. We have also had to deal with the legal issues of transferring ownership of the land to the non-profit foundation that we have established for our project in Pakistan. After three weeks of long distance calls, we have finally begun our project. We are also closer to meeting our fund-raising goals. A very generous donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has graciously given us 3,000 USD, ensuring that we have the funds to continue building throughout the summer. Helena Potter, a colleague of my mom’s, was able to connect us to this donor and has been incredibly supportive throughout this entire process. These new funds come at an incredibly important time, as we have been unable to receive donations through our foundation’s website, which has not been working for the last week or so. The website, kulsoomfoundation.org, should now be up and running.