There is a certain fragrance to Pakistan which, when newly arrived, one notices when stepping into the cool night air after passing innumerable hours in the stale atmosphere of an intercontinental jetliner. No one seems quite sure of the source of the sweetness, but it is as unexpected as it is memorable.
I arrived a bit late for the first presentation. There was no seat available, but as soon as I entered a traditional looking Muslim man got up and offered me his seat. I was bit embarrassed both at being late and at having been offered a seat by someone who clearly arrived on time. Yet welcomed so graciously, I sat down.
I took a deep breath, dialed the number, and pressed call… “Hi Mom, are you sitting down? I think I’m going to Pakistan.”
It is not lost on me that as a Native Angeleno who grew up in that urban corridor infamously called “Watts-Compton,” labeling communities, cities, and countries as “too dangerous” to travel there is not unfamiliar to me.
Women play crucial roles in faith communities, and have the potential to play an important role in peacebuilding and the deconstruction of stereotypes.