In this final week of our time visiting family in Lahore we managed to get out of the city for a day and visit family in the country at Martinpur. It was great to see a green and dust free Punjab from the pollution of Lahore. Martinpur was the family home of Irfana’s Dad and it was great to see village life and learn a bit about the history of Martinpur. Martin was a Presbyterian missionary who came here in the late 19th century, where he set up a church and many people converted to Christianity. The legacy is that today it is an entirely Christian village and we experienced this first hand as Zaburs (psalms in Punjabi) echoed out over loud speakers, where normally you would hear prayers from the mosque. Another legacy was that many low caste members of the community were able to get an education and many Doctors, Teachers and Politicians have come from this town. Irfana’s Dad is living proof of this
Over this last month I have tasted a little of what the people here are having to deal with 24/7 day to day. The credit crunch has really hit Pakistan badly and everyday has been characterised by hourly power cuts with no electricity for long spells in the day, and gas and petrol shortages. There is a lot of discontentment generally with the government and of course rising tension with India and with the conflict in Palestine. On a number of days Pakistai fighter jets have flown over the city as a kind of show of intent
Last week also saw five bomb blasts at theatres in Lahore, more as a warning to create fear. Thankfully there were no casualties. In spite of this backdrop we have had a very enjoyable stay and actually sitting in candlelit darkness with family and friends, chatting has created some special memories and some good conversations.
Yesterday we took Zara to Lawrence Gardens and she had a great time playing in the children’s playground. Like many things in Pakistan the park is a real family affair and many families from the old crowded part of Lahore come to Lawrence gardens on a Sunday to picnic and hang out. This meant Zara had lots of children to play with and adults too. I was really impressed with the way the playground was designed and many of the climbing frames, swings, roundabouts and slides were adult friendly too so everyone was playing together. To see a selection of all our pics in Pakistan go to my flicker
Tomorrow (Tuesday) we are flying back to the UK and my attention will be turning to our CMS World To Rights tour. We start on Tuesday in Guildford and the tour will go through until June.