Thursday, 28 February 2019 03:36

Stuck in Karachi

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Stuck in Karachi

It was during the training on occupational health I was giving when I noticed an increase in distraction amongst the participants. Almost everybody was looking at their phone with different intensity of worried in their gaze. As a trainer, there is nothing worse than to lose your audience and I was on the brink of telling myself that I must be a pretty bad trainer that nobody is paying attention.

Interestingly my next slide was on ‘stress at the workplace’ and while I cleared my throat to explain the content one of the participants spoke up. “We are already quite stressed right now, India has invaded our airspace and got shot down.”

I was stunned.  

Mainly because I knew the possible consequences. This could mean war and it could get ugly. Really ugly.

We all took a moment and contemplated in silence, contemplating what this could mean to all of us. It was an hour later that Pakistan’s airspace was closed and no flights were coming in nor out. I was officially stuck.

It was then that I learned to respect people’s resilience even more. We had a chat about how such a situation could possibly (yes, the people used the word possibly) be a stressor for work but we quickly came back to the topic and hand and proceeded the workshop as planned.

When I met up with some friends for dinner everybody told me to freak out and I said to them, “I’m not!” they looked at me, nodded in acknowledgment and the topic was closed.

That made me smile because it’s true, I’m not stressed out. I can’t deny that this isn’t how I envisioned my stay and that I'm not worried about the situation, but my children are safe with their father in the UK and I have a home here. People I love.   

I might be stuck in Karachi until they decide to open up the airspace again, but life goes on. Although I do believe some of the resilience in people here is simple avoidance and that they are not dealing with their trauma effectively but there is something to be said about going on with your daily routine while there is a major threat to your nation.

Let’s just hope that this sandpit argument will not turn into something deadly.

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