Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A rescue-worker's Farewell

Isabelle Giasson of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has spent the winter helping earthquake victims find shelter in remote mountain villages of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Here she recounts her final goodbyes to those she has worked with and helped.

"Today we left the mountain - for good. It is the end of our mission here.

We have been here four months - long enough to get to know people well and to make friends. Leaving them was both painful and emotional.

As we were going, Gul Hassan, who has worked with us from the beginning, came to see my husband, Daniel, and me despite the cold and rain.

He is about 50 years old, but physically very strong.

We always joked with him about the size of his family, teasing him that it could form a village in itself. He is the only man we know with two wives and 14 children.

Although illiterate, Gul Hassan would always insist on trying to write his name rather than putting a cross on paper when receiving his wages.

It was an act of determination that never ceased to impress me.

He had come with two of our other staff from our base village, Datura, to return his IOM hat.

We told him to keep it as a souvenir, a gesture that suddenly reduced this big, strong man to tears. Daniel hugged and comforted him as best he could.

I tried to shrink into the background because I knew it couldn't have been easy for a man like him to cry - not only in front of his peers, but also a woman."

Read the whole:


Raheel said...

one word.. touching!!

kathi said...

What an amazing read, thank you!

defiant goddess said...


And I just noticed in your sidebar about delays not being denials. That's powerful and something I will remember.

Thanks and have a marvelous day.

No One said...

An interesting read! thanx for's powerful how some people are making an amazing effort in influencing other peoples life's... a small or a big gesture...if it makes a difference...that's what matters.

Hey see that your profile pic is up, very nice indeed.

See you around!

Hasan Mubarak said...

raheel: yup!

kathi: You are welcome Kathi.

defiant goddess: That's my favorite belief...

no one: It's all about people; and believe you me, there were thousands of them working with the same spirit in relief work.

Profile pic's a bit late; It's better to have it late than to never have it...

defiant goddess said...

Off topic:

Hasan, I'm sorry you've been having trouble posting comments on my blog. For some reason, my spam filter is giving you a hard time but I am approving your messages and hopefully training the filter to let you in.


Trailady said...

This was a very moving story. Despite the terrible suffering around the world, there is still good. There are still people who are willing to sacrifice for the good of others. This deserves to be celebrated!! :o)

I have great respect for humanitarian workers who put their lives on the line to help people of another country. It breaks my heart when they are tormented/killed for political purposes.

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