The next day we went in the opposite direction, the roads were once again broken, flooded and impassable. We had to foot it. I footed it first. The thing about walking in running water, or running in walking water for that matter, is that it’s really fucking difficult. Especially in 47 degrees. It takes the poise of a champion gymnast and the stamina of a randy bull to cross these watercourses. Especially in 47 degrees. Since I had neither I had to hang on to the back of something bigger than me. We hitched a ride on a tractor, a truck, a boat, a jeep and finally a donkey cart, although the last one was more out of laziness than any great necessity.
Of course it would’ve been easier if we just had this…
…but then it would’ve been the Chief Minister of Punjab on the back of that donkey cart and that wouldn’t have been nice now would it? Anyway more gratuitous images!
Moving on. It was an 80 kilometer journey to our destination, which we covered in three hours. The place was a tiny village on the edge of the canal going through Kinjar Khas, we were supposed to do a situation analysis and report back to the donors. So much for that. By the time we got there we only had enough time to leave and catch the last boat back.
The people were all camped on the tills next to the canal. They’d tied their furniture to the trees, their animals to the furniture and their children to the animals. These were all their worldly possessions now. Well not the trees, the trees were communal. Leftist scum. Anyway, I was given all of five minutes to interview the locals, which I thought wasn’t nearly sufficient time. Especially in 47 degrees.
A flood you say? I hardly even noticed. Did we bring anything to give you? No, not really. Unless you want a cigarette. I’ve got plenty of cigarettes. Well they’re not much good now that they’re wet, but they were good cigarettes. They probably cost more than that shirt you’re wearing, so maybe you could wear these instead.
Do you want me to take a picture? Sure, where is it, I’ll take it.
Ok don’t make a crowd now I’m very claustrophobic. Whose hand is that in my pocket? Yes, we will be back with food but I need to ask you some questions. Has any aid reached you as yet? Our donors were very particular about that, they want a small, isolated place where aid isn’t getting through. They want to adopt your village. Adopt. You know how when some of your relatives die and leave behind twenty kids and you have to take care of them? Well it’s like that, only more pleasant. Who’s the elected official around these parts? Who’s the patvaari? Ok, let’s try this again. Who are you?
Oh, that’s a camera film, I don’t think it’s edible, anyway I highly recommend against eating it, at least not until it’s been produced. Ok that’s it, out of time we have to go. We’ll be back though with ration and medicine and clothes and stuff. Just try not to get rescued in the mean time.
Predictably, we missed the boat on our way back. It was awful trudging through the muddy waters again, and one of the crew threw up. Not a wise decision, especially in 47 degrees. We barely made it back to Multan. The next day we were back in Lahore presenting our documentation. Things were going well until they asked us to show the actual village we’d identified. They weren’t happy to hear that we were all out of film and batteries by then. Still the location was approved and we were heading back there in a week’s time to save the day.
I don’t have the pictures for that though (bloody camera broke) so the next post will be about the winter clothes distribution we did a month back. The donors weren’t kidding when they said they wanted to adopt a village, their plan is from relief to rehabilitation. The housebuilding project is still underway.