Grateful To Have Lived in Pakistan

Share with friends....Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Pin on Pinterest
Share on Google+

How lucky are we all to live in Australia?  This post was inspired by watching the SBS series ‘Go Back To Where You Came From.’ I’m very sympathetic to people who want to come to Australia for a better life.  Hello?  That’s why I came here, isn’t it?  I’m even more sympathetic to people who have fled for their lives.

A beggar lady tapping at our car window. Often the babies would be pressed against the windows.

I was fortunate to be born in the west and to find it easy to emigrate here, and now I have two highly prized passports.  Nothing clever or wise about it, just a happy accident of birth.  Born very, very white in very white Scotland.  Very lucky and I don’t take it for granted.

My little family came to Australia, just Intn’l Man of Mystery, first son and myself, via a year in Karachi, Pakistan. We lived a life of expat luxury, of course. I thought I had travelled before, I HAD travelled before, I’d been to Kenya, South-East Asia and even Ghana… but South Asia is totally different.

Living in a country is different too, and having a 3 month old baby makes everything different.  So my emotional reactions to all that I saw was much stronger.  I’ll never forget those beggar babies and the people who have absolutely NO rights at all, no laws to really protect them.

Here are some of the photos I took there, a little of what we saw.

Our most local beggar, looking much more cheerful than I often do. Not an assistive device in sight.


My eldest son, now Giant Teenager with some local kids and their mum, looking very podgy and a bit concerned.

A beautiful building in Karachi, the Jinnah Memorial, I think. Eldest is in his stroller, with Piyari, our diver.

Schoolgirls in a not very well equipped classroom. I did some writing for an aid project that was improving education.

How cool and how proud does this man look? And his camel is no slouch either.

The men have great pride in Pakistan, and the most fantastic moustaches.

Washing day at the ghat and the dhobis (washing men) are working hard.

Local snakecharmer, my baby was equally hypnotised

I was hugely struck and distraught by ‘Go Back To Where You Came From.’  How can people be so unkind to fellow human beings?  Can’t they put themselves in the same position?

Don’t they know that ‘there but for the grace of God go I?’   We’ve all got so much to be grateful for here in Oz.

Have you lived overseas?  Did the experience make a big impact on you?


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on: July 1, 2011


  • Reply July 1, 2011


    Wow, it is very different, isn’t it? I have traveled to the Middle East, but not for long and when you are only there for a few days, you only see the touristy things.

    But I remember the quake in Turkey and the flood of refugees to Bulgaria (where I am from). I don’t remember anyone trying to send them back to where they came from… although it was a long time ago and I tend to forget the bad and remember the good.

  • Reply July 1, 2011


    Thanks for sharing those photos. I also feel grateful that I was born in a place that is peaceful & safe.

  • Reply July 1, 2011


    your images are beautiful. i really enjoyed the ‘go back’ series too, but need to watch it again to catch the parts i missed. we truly are so fortunate to have been born in the right time and place, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply July 1, 2011

    Jodi Gibson

    A wonderful, eye opening post. I have travelled a lot, but not to Pakistan. I do know that seeing the world definitely makes me appreciate what I have here and changes how I feel about man kind.

    • Reply July 2, 2011


      So true, it does change the way one feels… and I’ve seen my own country through different eyes. So much waste here!

  • Reply July 1, 2011


    I havent lived outside of South Africa and havent really even travelled much.

    I think experiences like this make you appreciate the every day things we have more.

  • Reply July 2, 2011


    That image of the beggar is so touching. It makes you appreciate the human spirit and its unconquerable soul. My goal is to travel abroad one month out of the year. Wish me luck.

    • Reply July 2, 2011


      I do wish you luck. I thought we’d travel with our family a lot but it hasn’t worked out that way at all. I hope my kids do see the world and understand it and feel some compassion and gratitude one day.

  • Reply July 2, 2011


    Such incredible photos. And thanks for sharing your story. It really is a great insight into another world for me.
    We are so fortunate to live here.

  • Reply July 2, 2011


    GBTWYCF affected me hugely too. I was amazed at people’s ability to turn a blind eye – to look for differences rather than commonalities. I have travelled extensively and I was never the same again. x

    • Reply July 2, 2011


      And having kids as well seemed to open my heart, rip open my heart at times. And most days I live here cheerily and don’t remember how most families live in the world….

  • Reply July 2, 2011


    Thank you for this post (found via Maxabella Loves). I didn’t watch GBTWYCF, I’m not sure if I can – I don’t understand how people can think that way. I agree with you that people lack empathy. I spent 3 years in Indonesia as a young child. We too lived a life of expat luxury but I still remember the things I saw and the people livng in poverty on the streets. We are so lucky to live in Australia..I always speak up if I hear people say anything along the lines of GBTWYCF – thank you for doing the same.

  • Reply July 2, 2011

    keepcatebusy (Cate)

    I have never lived overseas – but have travelled quite a lot. And never go a day without being eternally grateful for having born in Australia – the lucky country 🙂
    have a great weekend

    • Reply July 3, 2011


      Amen to that, Cate, me too.

  • Reply July 2, 2011


    Whoa! What an amazing experience and wonderful photos. Thank you for sharing. What an eye opening experience.

    The closest I have done is a few trips to Kuala Lumpur for work … not quite the same thing.

  • Reply July 3, 2011

    Jennifer Smart

    I lived in London for 11 years – not quite Pakistan, but it does make you aware of what it’s like to be ‘different’. Even as a white Australian, the English would point out to you (often) that you’re not one of them, so I can only imagine how much worse it would be to have emigrated there (or here) from Africa or the Sub-Continent. When I returned to Sydney I was really shocked at how insular and racist many people were, whilst maintaining the ‘give anyone ago’ myth.
    The photo of the woman and her child reminded me of a very similar experience in Tijuana. Pretty confronting.
    Thoughtful Post. Thank-you.
    J x

    • Reply July 3, 2011


      It was so confronting. I had a huge fat baby in the car and beggars pressed small kids against the window… sometimes the children had all their teeth. They were so much older than my babe and yet so small. And I was feeding, a new mum, terribly emotional… big impressions made.

  • Reply July 3, 2011


    We are so lucky to live in such an amazing country. hope you had a good weekend. x

  • Well, I never knew that:) Loved the pics and comments especially the one re the beggar. What a man!

  • Reply July 11, 2011

    Mairi Stones

    Too true Seana. It’s all too easy to forget and take what we have for granted. I think this is why I struggle so much with the over consumption and blatant waste in out western worlds; it’s so fundamentally wrong as far as I’m concerned. Also if i ever am in the unfortunate position of needing a new country I would like to think I would be helped not hindered or worse.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience. I lived and worked in Morocco in 2005 for 4 months. It was my first time overseas on my own, I was 20!
    It remains in my memories one of the best experience of my life, and I’m very grateful for it. It was a challenge I gave myself at the time that had changed my life, giving the confidence to live and work overseas again after that (London, Tokyo and Sydney of course). The people I met in Morocco were so welcoming and willing to share their culture, it was fantastic!

Leave a Reply