Karimabad – The Land of Heaven

Haider Inn 75Rs

Persawahan di lereng bukit Karimabad dibungkus salju (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO)

Hunza in winter

This is my second time coming to Hunza valley. The first time was in summer 2003. I arrived here 2 years ago, and amazed by the development projects carried out throughout the valley. The colour of winter is sad, yellow and grey. But the sadness colour doesnt make the mountains and valley mute, it’s still singing, beautifully.

As I remember from my last visit, due to failure of the generator in the valley, I didnt have electricity at all during my 3 day stay here. But now it’s different. The electricity, even though that is still unreliable, works for most of the time. 2 days with electricity and 1 day off. Not bad. And it even has an internet cafe with affordable price. 40 Rs/hour, which is not bad considering the terrain of the area. The Internet cafe is run by KADO, with a partnership with an NGO from Western country. The connection was run by a sattelite, as the Internet administrator told me yesterday, and it cost 2000$/mo for this. The connection is very slow during the day because of the weather, but is bearable in the evening. The organization itself doesnt get so much profit, and instead it loss so much money. It also provides home-access for the people in Hunza, which cost 30Rs/hour. I admire the fact that this Internet service also takes care to the impact of global information towards the people of the valley. It is strict on pornography, of which all pornographic websites are blocked by them (even some non-pornographic sites were mistakenly blocked). It’s really an example of sustainable and responsible development.

Di sini semua orang bisa baca tulis

Here everybody is literate

Today my British friend and I visited a school with the company of someone from the HERP organization. This organization runs education and training to the villagers, with currently 4000+ students and a hundred of teachers. We visited one of their schools in Aliabad, which is the biggest one. The principle welcomed us, and we had a very interesting conversation.
“In 1960’s Pakistan was a developing country, while Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, etc were underdeveloped countries. But now we are underdeveloped and Indonesia is at least developing country. What’s the problem? At that time there was only 1 madrasah in one town, but now there are at least 1000 madrasah.”
Madrasah is Islamic school, where the students only study about theology, and no secular sciences were taught. He blamed the madrasah, as the source of regressiveness of his country.
“What do these people can do in the future?”

Alex dan rekan-rekannya di kantor HERP yang bertujuan meningkatkan taraf pendidikan di Hunza

The volunteer and staff of HERP

He also admired Musharaf. The leader, a secular one, is always positioned in difficult situations. In one place he needs money to flow into Pakistan, and in the other hand he has to fulfill the needs of the donators (in this case America). The development often being blocked by the uneducated people, like the development of big dams to support the more modern agriculture always suspended because the villagers refused it.
“Musharaf himself visited the villages to talk with the villagers, but the villagers just dont want to listen to him,” he explained. And it’s not only three of four times the assassination attempts were tried upon him.

We also met a British female volunteer working in the schools conducted by HERP, teaching English to the children. The life here is though, said her, as the weather could be unbearable in winter. “It’s not me who chose Pakistan, but Pakistan chose me,” said her when we asked why she is coming to Pakistan. It’s already her 18th month in this country.

Semua gadis di Hunza pergi sekolah, sementara tingkat pendidikan kaum wanita di Pakistan secara rata-rata masih jauh tertinggal.

Here girls go to school and women are highly educated

Ghazi, the guy from HERP organization also took us to his home, to visit his family. The people in Karimabad speak Burushaski language, which is an independent language in this area, not connected with any other languages. But the culture of the people is quite similar to those Wakhi Tajik speakers up north.

2 Comments on Karimabad – The Land of Heaven

  1. Culture conservation or civilization development? Really a dilemma, sometimes.
    Take care of yourself. Best wishes for you.
    12/29/05 @ 10:18

  2. met tahun baru Weng
    aku masih di rumah skr
    wkt aku kembali ke skl kasih lagunya peterpan ke km~ hehe

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