Lessons from a Summer Sojourn in Pakistan

Saad_ali_baloch

By Saad Ali Baloch

It’s been 17 years living here. A multifarious place where heterogeneousness prevails. People here are lovers, people are haters, people are innovators, people are imitators, people are arbitrators, people are instigators, people are investigators, people are spectators, people are humans and…but…wait. I would like to restate the last statement. People “think” they are humans.

In this highly sophisticated world, what does it take to classify one as a human? Mere 2 eyes, a brain, a heart and a tongue? Well, for me, using our brains to think for the benefit of others is being human; feeling the agony of others is being human, raising our voices against injustices is being human. In short, practicing, safeguarding and promoting humanity is what it takes to acquire the status of a human.This may sound like a stereotypical exaggerated emotionally animated statement, but it is not. This is the reality of our so called civilized world.
After my final exams, I was keen to volunteer for community service somewhere. Community service is not always deeply valued in a country like Pakistan, but having taken part in different community works like donating books to the needy students, doing charities to various organizations  and road cleaning projects, I wanted to contribute more to the society.
Therefore, I volunteered for 3 months to teach street children at a special organization in my city. The school provided a platform to people where they could teach, share their experiences and learn many things from the underprivileged children. The experience was an overwhelming one. From the very first moment, it changed the way I thought. It transformed me. It was kind of a metamorphosis.
For instance, I had never realised the deep sense of satisfaction that I got when I could see a smile on a random kid’s face.  Another deep feeling emanated when the so called random kid was not  ‘random’ anymore, but a valuable part of my life.
Well, I was supposed to teach them the syllabus, but the process went the other way round.  Unintentionally and unknowingly,  they taught me. They helped me understand how harsh life could be;  they taught me how to smile when times are not easy, and how to remain steadfast even in unfavourable and extreme situations. They taught me how to find happiness in little things. And, obviously, the list goes on.

When I asked them about their aspirations, they left me absolutely stunned with their replies. Each of them had different and distinct aspirations. Amidst all odds, they desired to become doctors, pilots, engineers, and some of them wanted to sever the country as president or as good politicians. One thing that they all had in common was that they wanted to serve their country, they wanted to serve the humanity. They didn’t dream of earning tons of money and living luxurious life abroad.

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The ones who dreamed of becoming future doctors had plans to set up free clinics in remote areas, thereby revolutionising the country poor health system. The would-be engineers wanted to set up an organization for underprivileged children so that everyone could get a decent education. The ones aiming to be politicians wanted to eradicated hunger, poverty, conflict and corruption from their land.  They seemed to have clear idea of the fact that these professions that they were aiming to be in were actually meant for serving people, but nowadays, unfortunately, everyone wants to earn money, become rich, drive expensive cars and that’s it.
I still have vivid memories from that short summer sojourn. I remember how one of my students face lightened up when I told him that he was doing really well. I felt, for the first time, I did something meaningful, something for others, something for a positive change. The time I spent teaching there, the laughs we shared, all the giggles and the smiles will stay etched in my memories. Yes, we care for each other. We are brothers. We are citizens of the world. We are humans. We are one humanity.
My personal request to youths all around the world: our role as global citizens must be reflected in our action. Whatever you can,  just try to contribute and make a difference like I did. Our education is inefficacious if we cannot serve our communities and make a difference. If we are free, we need to free someone else as well; and  if we have power, it is our job to empower others. Whatever we do, wherever we are, if we are doing something for common benefit, then only we are truly global citizens.
(Saad is an A-levels student at Roots College International, Millennium Campus Islamabad, Pakistan. Besides community service and volunteering, he loves writing, watching cricket and playing volleyball)

1 COMMENT

  1. Saad you have highlighted this fact such brilliantly that all the professions in the world has a common objective that is to serve people of the society in particular and humanity in general other than serving your ownself. MashaAllah in your age the kind of thinking and feel you have you will go a long way in your life with success. Keep it up.

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