Life seems to stand still at Ghari Khairo. Although 6 years have passed since a flood completely destroyed this village right where Sindh joins Baluchistan, there is still sadly no staff to run a well-built hospital due to poor access and lack of incentives. Medical facilities are scarce in this part of the country where the locals have to suffer everything from the hottest climates of Pakistan to the tormenting floods of the monsoon season. Hence, villagers here completely depend on the annual medical camps arranged by MJSF for their basic health needs. FRIP was lucky enough to accompany the MJSF team for one of these medical camps held in early December. The locals showed immense eagerness to learn the basic emergency management for different situations, from drowning to heat stroke and basic resuscitation. The feedback at the end of these three days from the locals as well as the MJSF team clearly indicated the positive impact of this workshop and highlighted how it’s absolutely critical that FRIP continues to reach out to these lesser developed parts of our country.
Another important thing that came out from this workshop was the knowledge that FRIP instructors gained. They got an insight of how things work in these tribal areas, and found the true essence of what village life is like. From the cuisine, to beautiful sunsets over expansive plains, to long sessions of conversations with the locals, this was truly an all rounded trip. The FRIP instructors who accompanied MJSF were Jehanzeb Ahmed Khan, Saib Mujtaba and Hadi Hassan.
The following is a short account of the trip from Saib Mujtaba.
FRIP – WHERE VOLUNTEERING AND PASSION BECOMES A LIFESAVING ALLOY
A few months back, I was suffering from the guilt of not giving back to the society whatever I owe it. That’s when I joined First Response Initiative of Pakistan and ever since then I’ve been given numerous opportunities to exhibit my oratory and teaching abilities in order to add first response to the general population’s arsenal of skills. It is awareness and education at its simplest and potentially life-saving at its best. One such opportunity was given to me as a part of FRIP’s session at Garrhi Khairo, Interior Sindh, in extension to an MJSF-sponsored outreach program. I had no idea what I had signed up for when I applied for it; that I’ll see rural areas of Pakistan totally off-guarded in their naked skin, their raw realities and their lifestyles was a notion I had not fully comprehended. We departed from Karachi and stopped at Sehwan Sharif along the way, where we saw the majestic intersection between faith and architecture at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s Mazaar. It was mystic and awe-inspiring.
Our travelling took place in an ambulance which was an experience on its own and when we reached our destination, we saw how humans have been thriving in the planes bordering Sindh and Balochistan for countless years. Their tractors were marching on, churning out produce for the country’s belly, their haystacks assembled, sweat dripping off the hardworking farmers’ foreheads- this was where we were assigned to fill in the vacuum of first-aid knowledge these people needed.
We modified our presentations according to their needs. Keeping in mind the fact that this sprouting village faced one of the most horrendous floods in 2010, we educated them on how to deal with victims of drowning. Our specially prepared presentations for dog and snake bites were acknowledged with an overwhelming reception which made our hearts melt. It would not be wrong to say that the response I received from the people at Garrhi Khairo was among the best I have ever experienced in my tenure as a FRIP instructor. Their eagerness to be more useful for the society was very obvious. To my delight, and contrary to the popular stereotypical belief about rural areas, it was the women of this underdeveloped village, with their inquisitive questions who impressively bamboozled us. The informative session regarding heat stroke, in our opinion, was of immense importance, as this village is located along one of the worst heat-belts in the World, in close proximity to Jacobabad which is officially the hottest region of Pakistan.
As we concluded the presentations with demonstrations and hands-on, simulated learning (personally my favorite part of the FRIP training), I was thrilled to see how each of them wanted to learn the protocols of resuscitation, making a sling for fractures and managing dog/snake bites.
I once heard that if you want to see people in their natural color, inhabiting their surroundings with truthfulness and simplicity, you should go visit the people of the country-side. I can now vouch for this so staunchly as my experience in this small village made me realize there’s so much to be done and if we make our lives about the work that’s pending rather than our personal success, we can actually make one hell of a difference. Adding on to my conclusion, it would almost be criminal negligence if I don’t mention the staggering hospitality of the locals. The home-made food, the area’s most influential people spending hours conversing with us, the picturesque guest house we were accommodated at and the abundant respect we were honored with astounded me and made me vow that at some point in my life, I will InshaAllah come back here and do something for this village beyond my personal capacity.