I was sitting in my office, feeling grumpy and uptight when i came to know via email from Dr. Noor Muhammad Yughur that there is going to be an Entrepreneurship Summit that will be held in Karachi, Pakistan. At that time, i was totally indifferent, i had no idea how this summit is gong to be and how can i qualify to be part of it? After a week i came to know that I have been selected based on my interest that i had shown to be part of that summit, when we reached Karachi, we reached Avari Hotel and there i saw a bunch of Pakistani- SUSI Alumni none of them was known to me previously so it triggered in my mind that how come this whole program will be attractive to me when i know none of the organizers and event managers except for folks from BUITEMS, Quetta. Next morning we met a group of Americans who were also there with us but i didn’t know about their presence, the group comprised of 3 people, Becky Howland, Becky Mazur and Ken Leblond, it was the second time in my life i was meeting foreigners. First, when i was a kid i was taught by 2 guys from Britain, one was Pakistani-britisher and other was pure Britisher they taught me how to write? Next, was this group of three intellectuals i met at Avari, i tried to talk to them but i couldn’t, i have always been reluctant meeting new people especially those whom i don’t know much about. It was 3 day summit and during the stay i got chance to talk to Becky Mazur once, Becky Howland and Ken Leblond twice. Afterwards, we returned back to our universities and the life began in its very usual way. After a few weeks i came to know that there is the same kind of Program going to be held this time in US and will be 5 weeks program not like the previous one. I was confused whether to go for the PhD admission for what i had secured recommendations from DAAD, Germany and at the same time i was unable to get my MS thesis review done from my supervisor, because i was into a very turbulent kind of relationship with my supervisor, he disliked me for so many reasons and i did the same but i was supposed to work and finish my thesis, still i am in the process. Luckily, i got a chance to fill my form in a matter of a week brainstorming on each and every component of the form in order to make it more meaningful and rational and i did. Months later i got an email that confirmed my selection for the Program but i was supposed to go through an interview in order secure final approval, i got it as well. When it was time to go for visa interview there i came to know that the Program has got a lot of other folks from different universities in Baluchistan, this things helped me feel more comfortable as i envisioned a group of teachers going to US. After few days of interview i got my passport with US Visa it was matter of immense pleasure for anyone who belong to the region where i live, in the like manner i felt glad but i had a lot going on there at home. My father’s maternal uncle a renowned scholar, intellectual, human right activist, nationalist and deputy chief of PkMAP , Abdul Rahim Mandokhel died, we were all mourning his death and it was a big loss i was totally indifferent once more whether to sit in the condolence or to be leave for US, i just made a single time visit to his place and left back and decided to leave for US, even before the last day of arrival i couldn’t finalize the decision, whether to go or not but it was too late to decide and my father wanted me to go, so i came to US. So, i left for US and reached safe and came to know that we are going to stay at UMASS, Amherst and in the next few days our sessions began. An overview of the sessions is given under:
The sessions became in a way I was expecting them to be, i entered the class and there i saw Jim Theroux a well known name and an intellectual who needed no introduction. The CAPSIM, simulation class began and it was an amazing experience to know that it was we the participants doing all the stuff rather than the teacher, in old school way. The next session was of Becky Mazur it was active learning session and made us learn that people learn in different ways and the pedagogy of hers made us learn more than i was expecting of myself, thanks to her. Later on, we came to know that we have a blogging session, where once more i got chance to meet Ken Leblond, an amazing person with a lot of really cool habits and he taught us how to reflect with the experiences we have during our stay in US into writing and we learned, thanks Ken. During all these sessions, we had some people always with us we knew them as mentors and it was a diverse group of individuals with some strong knowledge about us, luckily, the team was comprised of Ish Elgadi, Kenneth Sao, Olivia, Deepika, Micheal Andrick and sometimes Kelsey as well, they were all very much curious about our timely getting into class, having no problem lodging and dining, they were like mothers to us, on a lighter note! All sudden one day we came to know that we are going to have some real business activity going to happen and we saw Hassan Shahid i guy that i knew from Karachi Entrepreneurship summit. Fortunately, he knew me as well and it was another plus for me i was easy to work under his direction and helped us do the things easily we were supposed to do. In the meanwhile, all these things were overseen by another brave lady, Becky Howland who was there in almost each and every session, she knew how to manage diversity without speaking anything, i love a lot about her and her personality and interaction is enough to justify the her kindness, humbleness, upbringing and curiosity. However, there was something we were lagging behind in that was knowing about the politics and history of US, how it institutions work and in what way they influence the rest of world and luckily one day we were informed that we have got session with Micheal Hannahan the Boss, it was amazing part of program i had so much interest in history and geography, the politics being Pakistani we are all political one way or other, so was I. We learned a lot from Mike Hannahan the best thing about him is when in class looks scary when out of class he is one of the guys who always has something to say and people will probably laugh, he has tons of jokes and relevant to the situation that makes it wonderful. In this manner we had learnt a lot from the people who taught us, educated us in their own domains.
Time as a group
The best part of this visit to US was i had 2 really close friends with me Arbab and Rehan, i felt like i am still where i was because of the people who surround me. We had people in the group that i have never known it was really diverse in our own way. Every next day the class room setup let us interact with our fellow participants in different ways, i was trying to get to know them all as soon as possible but we were from 3 different universities everyone wanted to stick to their own university fellows, but still i managed to know them all!
We had traveling, lodging, dining, working, sitting experiences together that helped me to learn them more in every different area we used to interact in. I still love all of them because everyone is unique in their own way and the best part of being human is to understand another person from their point of view, I tried sometimes failed on other occasions i was good.
New friendships made with non-Pakistanis
When i left airport i saw Becky howland, Ish Elgadi, Deepika, Kenneth Sao the first ones i saw waiting for us and that moment i can’t forget ever, they are my first and foremost important friends from this part of journey. The journey of making new friendships began right after i reached Amherst, everyday i met new people especially Civic staff they were cool enough, rather i might think whether i was fit for their friendship or not, they were absolutely fit being friends. Becky Howland, a person who belongs to Pennsylvania i don’t know much about that place but i know 3 people from that state, and i can surely say the area will be as beautiful, honest, sincere, humble, kindhearted and friendly as i have seen the three legends, Becky, her mother and Heather Day, who works for APD program, she is a real friend and amazingly cool person. I met Ish Elgadi, a guy with really strong voice, who was more of a guy who lived his life in troubles and knew how to manage it for the rest of it, he was unique in a sense he spoke less as well and when asked had much to tell and i started sharing my music collection with him and Ken Sao who was as humble and decent as Ish himself. I was getting close to all of them, then i met Mike Andrick, a calm person who speaks less but works a lot, met Kelsey an amazing person with lots of experiences and traveling, they were kind of people who attracted me a lot. Then, one day we came to know that Pato Penalbo an Argentinean guy who is part of Civic staff, is here to meet us all that moment i came to know he is man of different qualities and has much to say when asked, i really liked his personality, and talked to him began from there stretched to everyday talks and discussion on different topics of common interest, he became a good friend. Deepika, the youngest of the Civic staff and a learned person who was as open and cool as i could have wished about a young lady to be, Olivia a person with sense of how to do something professionally, an amazing person with not much to speak mostly kept her work important than any other thing used to stay busy doing her work. After a few days i came to know that a group of Argentinean are traveling to US in a likely manner we did but for a short span of time, it was matter of pleasure and we knew that it is going to be an amazing experience and learning to be with them. They reached and we met Maria, a person as pure as a child, as bold as chieftan and true warrior, she was a strong person, had very good sense of humor, and got attached to us the way we did to them, i still miss her for being the purest of people i have ever met in my life.
overall impression of US
A place that everyone should at least visit once before s/he plans to die.
It is world in itself.
Missed the most about Baluchistan
I missed my family, my friends and students a lot.