Day 101 – 16th July 2014 Islamabad

It rained last night! That’s the first clouds and rain for months.

We arrived at the Ministry of Interior a few minutes to 10 and Mr Ghulam Muhammad, the Deputy Minister of Interior asked us a few basic questions, where are you from etc. for the next hour he spoke about Islam. He is passionate about Islam and wanted to tell us about the religion and how Muslims act in every day life, it was facinating as I have been finding out about Islam for many months now so more detail was great.

We were there to try and get the NOC (non objection certificate) to travel north but this was a side issue to the more important subject of Islam.

Mr Muhammad was keen to stress how Muslims are peaceful people who want to help others and lead good lives. This is reflected in my experience having travelled through many Islamic countries, I have found that every, I’ll repeat that, I have found that every Muslim I have engaged with has been so kind and helpful that I could only nod in agreement with what I was hearing.

I have only met kind, generous and loving people, everyday people want to talk and help me in any way they can.

How wonderful.

We had an hour with Mr Muhammad and it finished with him sighing our application and asking his assistant to speedily process it. Another hour passed with his assistant and we were asked to contact the office tomorrow to get an update.

A typical example of how people have helped me happen only an hour after I left the Ministry of Interior. I had a problem with my bike, an important bolt was missing so I went to a motorbike mechanic recommended to me who smiled, shock my hand and said he would help me out. After him giving me a drink and the usual string of questions he said that I needed specialist help so his son took me to a small engineering workshop. For the next 45 minutes the owner drilled out the old bolt, tapped the hole, machined a sleeve to perfectly fit and bolted everything together. He smiled constantly and refused to take the money I offered him. Upon returning to the motorbike workshop I tried several times to give him money for his friend but again he wouldn’t take it. In addition he said I could use his workshop anytime for servicing or repairs with no cost.

This is typical of my experience thought the Islamic countries I’ve visited.

A chat with my friend Trev form home who’s off to ‘latitude’ for the weekend, I do love festivals, and then out to an Afghanistan restaurant in the evening.

A good day.