Back to Pakistan, A Fifty-year Journey
by: Leslie Noyes Mass Download Complete Book in PDF
Off To Pakistan” read the headline of my hometown newspaper in 1962 and the subject line of some of my email correspondence in 2009. Both times, the first question from my friends and family was “Why Pakistan?” and the next, “Why you?” The third was usually “Do you really want to go so far away from us?” and finally, “Will you be safe?”
In 1962, one month past my college graduation, my answers were glib: Because that’s where the Peace Corps is sending me. They need my liberal arts skills. The people want us to come to their villages and schools and work side by side with them as they build their cottage industries, agricultural exports, and rate of literacy.
I can keep in touch with you by airmail letters. And yes, of course, I will be safe! I am an American. Our vice president, Lyndon Johnson,
and First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, have just been to Pakistan. Pakistanis love Americans! The media tells me so. Why not?
In 2009, a lifetime later, the answers to those questions aren’t quite so glib. I really question this time whether I should go off to Pakistan to revisit the country where I had come face-to-face with my own naïveté, youthful arrogance, and inexperience.
But I am curious about what has become of the people in my village outside the city of Lahore, and whether the women are still in purdah. Do the girls in my village have any better access to education
now, I wonder, or has my village become a hotbed of Islamist extremism, further denying books and education outside the purdah wall?