Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Assignment - Cold Turkey in Karachi

I used to work with Heroin Addicts in Karachi, back in the mid 80s to mid 90s, so it was with great interest that I listened to the BBC Assignment programme about Cold Turkey in Karachi

(Image: A Pakistani drug addict holding a syringe with his teeth after injecting heroin on a street in Karachi. Credit: BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

You can listen to the programme here or follow the link below

The programme blurb gives you an idea of what its about.  Its a massive issue - of epidemic proportions.  Maybe you can also pray for my old project IBTIDA whilst you listen ....... 

Karachi is facing a drugs epidemic.
Pakistan's sprawling port city has an estimated half a million chronic heroin addicts.
The drug is cheap and easily available as it comes across the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, before being shipped to Europe and the US.
For Assignment, Mobeen Azhar finds out how a charity is trying to help addicts and their families.
An NGO called the Edhi Foundation operates what is thought to be the world's largest drug rehabilitation centre.
It's here that Mobeen meets brothers Yusaf and Husein who have checked themselves in.
Patients who volunteer for treatment like this can leave whenever they feel ready.
But the majority of patients, like 24-year-old Saqandar, are brought in by their desperate relatives, and according to Edhi rules, only the family can decide when they will be released.
The centre offers heroin users food and painkillers to ease the physical symptoms of withdrawal - but conventional treatment like methadone is not available. So does enforced cold turkey really work?
Mobeen follows the stories of three heroin addicts and finds out how the stress of their addiction takes its toll on them and their families.

  • Broadcast on BBC World Service, 10:05PM Sat, 11 Aug 2012
  • Available until 12:00AM Thu, 1 Jan 2099
  • First broadcast BBC World Service, 9:05AM Thu, 9 Aug 2012
  • Categories  News
  • Duration 25 minutes

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Partnership House and the 'end of Western Mission'

I used to work in Partnership House in Waterloo,  London, the 'headquarters' of the Church Mission Society CMS. The local post office used to call it 'Go Forth House' because of the stone inscription across the doorway.  It was the Great Commission according to Mark 16:15  (NEV)
Now the site on 157 Waterloo Road is empty air as it has been knocked down and is being built on .  CMS moved to Oxford back in in 2008.

After being sold,  Partnership House was all boarded up (with squatters living in) until it was finally knocked down.  I travelled past on quite a  few occasions and it looked like Western Mission Agencies (WMA) had indeed shut up shop.  

Some have suggested that mission ended in the 20th century.  People like Vishal Mangalwadi  have suggested we have reached the end of Christendom model and Western Mission. 

But there has been a Global shift. In Church terms the Global North may indeed have been squeezed and shrinking,  but the Global Balloon is expanding in the South.   South America, Africa and Asia are where the church is growing and are becoming the new centres of mission. Mission is no longer from the 'West to the Rest' but (as in the title of a book by Michael Nazir-Ali) it is  'Everywhere to Everywhere'

Someone sent some pictures to us in CMS which showed PH in the process of being deconstructed  (14 June 2012) 

I thought you might be interested in the attached Pictures of the former Church Mission Society HQ in Waterloo Road which has been bricked up for sometime and was covered in Scaffolding whilst they demolished it.
However I remembered the Phrase above the entrance from Mark 16:15. Well, today I had my Camera for another reason and happened to go that way and they are obviously down to the last part of the entrance/chapel and have uncovered it ready for final demolition.
I always thought it was a pity that this should go and not be listed /moved to another location somehow, but then it was a 1960's office block..... Still I took a couple of poignant pictures of the verse.

Yes it is in some ways poignant, but as I have blogged beforehand.  it may be that the Institution is being replaced by a new sense of movement and community. The Good News is still around to be proclaimed to the whole of creation......  

'Fishing in Utopia' or 'Where's Walleye'!

'Fishing in Utopia' is a Grantis Book by Andrew Brown (2008) subtitled 'Sweden and the Future that Disappeared'.   So its all about Sweden and I'm in Stockholm reading it at the moment, but reflecting on the fishing in Finland, which is as near as I have been to Utopia in terms of fishing.   The A6 pastel painting above is inspired by the view on arrival at a Lake house in Ahtari (picture below) The dark deep waters awash with Pike, Perch, Pike-Perch and the more elusive Walleye

I'm not a fisherman but I enjoyed fishing on this occasion with Harri and his son, Joel.  We went our at least twice a day for a few hours at a stretch. Lake trolling I think its called, dragging a line from a small motor boat with a bright yellow and black lure.  Very relaxing.....   I enjoyed watching the shifting scenery and the beauty of creation. As well as the game of chance, which people call fishing.  I thought the game should be renamed: 'Where's Walleye'!      

Harri and Joel  are very much at home on the Lake and fishing almost runs in their blood. They have been going to Harri's parents' summer house for years and fishing the Lake, particularly in search of Walleye, which they think is the best fish in the Lake.   And at the end of the day you bring the fish back like ancient maniners/ hunters. And eat and sauna and fall asleep happily after the late sunset (10pm) comfortably exhausted.   That's the life.......

A quotation from the 'Fishing in Utopia' book, seems appropriate: 
Fishing anywhere is a form of enquiry. The patient watchful wonder of the fisherman seems to me to be the root of all science. In sea fishing this mapping and bringing of order from the formless, shifting waves is especially ambitious. Attention broods over the water like the spirit in Genesis, moving, casting, until suddenly all the possibilities are narrowed into one taut line. Perhaps this explains why I have always sought the sea at times of upset and disturbance in my life. The fish comes like an answer, the rod in my hand a divining instrument.'  (p83) 
I'm a little bit more like a fish out of water.  Someone even called this picture 'the old Man and the sea'. But inspite of looking out of place and uncomfortable (some people say I look cold), I am actually having an almost 'spiritual experience' as brown described. watching, brooding ..... and I did manage to catch a 2 kilo pike, which I also later filleted and we had it for breakfast, smoked along with 4 perch that Joel had pulled effortlessly out of the water and into a bucket on board. I have to admit I enjoyed the experience immensely. Going out in the boat and watching the changing scenery, coupled with the fishing lottery......  'will I, won't I' catch one today?      It really is pretty addictive......

Joel, being a pre-teenager, would also go out on his own whenever he had the chance for even mor efishing opportunities. And so I did a quick pastel stetch of him fishing alone,  which I left him as a momento of our 'fishing in Utopia' trip.