Saturday, 26 January 2008

Keti Bandar What? Who? Where?

Keti Bandar is a small fishing village situated about 150 kilometers east of Karachi. It is nestled in one of the many thousands of creeks, rivers and dykes which make up the mouth of the Indus River.
The area is low and sparse. Sparse in all ways, by which I mean little to no vegetation due to the saline waters, few people due to the simple fact there is nothing there to sustain them except fishing and flat like all delta regions. Even the drinking water is trucked in. There is also evidence of some power lines. Two lines, one had collapsed and a one was being built.
The only access to Keti Bandar is by road or of course fishing boat. We did also see evidence of a helicopter pad marked out on the road. We suspected this was for military purposes as we are only about 100 kilometers from the Indian Boarder.
Given what I have just said I was surprised to see an asphalted road at all, I had been preparing myself for a long haul over rough terrain, being bumped from side to side for what would surely have seemed like hours. In fact we took an hour getting out of Karachi (that’s 20 kilometers !) due to traffic and here in the delta we were batting along at 120 plus!
After what I’ve just told you the question must be …”Why visit”? Well very good question. Actually my Company is undertaking a study for some jetties and it included a site visit to Keti Bandar. A couple of Engineers had come over from UK, that's Simon and Scott, and together with our local Engineer Partner Ahmad Pathan (Yes Ahmad of fishing days) we made the trip. So I decided why not visit with them and have a day out of Karachi. Somewhere else in Pakistan to see.
Given my comments above it is all the more striking when you consider this is only 150 kilometers from Karachi.
Ahmads’ Farm(s) On the way back from Keti Bandar we stopped at Ahmad’s farms. At the fist stop he had laid on lunch for us. Everything was cooked over an open fire in one of the outhouses. Lunch was ready on arrival comprising fried fish, chicken curry and rice, and local salads. All was ready and cooked for our arrival. Smelled great. A far cry from Keti Bandar. We ate, relaxed then relaxed some more while sipping some local tea.
After relaxing we had a wander around. Ahmad keeps cows and oxen. The farm comprises a small dwelling and some outbuilding including the kitchen. The others were for storage of tools and bedrooms. He had a tractor and a few other bits of equipment. However whilst there we watched the boys go off in the ox cart to collect grass. On returning they cut it up into smaller sizes using a cutting wheel. To the grass were added sugar cane storks and banana stems for added bulk. Watching this all being done whilst sitting in the shade with yet another cup of tea made us all feel like gentlemen farmers. The good life!! The cows seemed to enjoy their food as well!
We even had time for a little shooting! Nothing came to sight so we let of a few rounds just for fun.
To cap it all off I went home armed with cauliflower, carrots and Italian Basil.

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