I just have to say how proud I am of my group in the EIP program for rocking their group project and presentation. You all represented the era of the 60’s music so well! I love you all!!!
Russia has been an interesting journey so far. Very much different from Pakistan. When we got off the plane and in the Russia airport, there weren’t a lot of smiles to be had. People were pushy and seemed very angry to be there. A very different cultural feeling. When saying the Russian “hello” on the street most people don’t even acknowledge that you spoke and won’t look you in the eye.
Before our first concert I thought, “well shit. We’re prob gonna get tomatoes thrown at us with the way this is going…”. But to my surprise, by the end of the show we had people clapping and dancing and loving it, even with the language barrier since most people do not speak English here. People have wanted our autographs and our pictures taken with them as well.
The difference between Russia and Pakistan is that in Pakistan they loved us before we went on the stage just because we were American and visiting their country. Also in Pakistan we were celebrities everywhere we went. And in Russia we’re celebrities for a brief moment after our show and then it’s over. Both have perks. And in Russia they don’t love us before we go on the stage. We have to earn their love, so although they are tougher around the edges, once you win them over they are so great and so sincere. In Pakistan all they wanted to hear we’re party songs and in Russia they appreciate the melodies and slower songs more, it seems.
After every show almost, we have received bouquets of flowers from members of the audience. You would almost NEVER see that in America unless it was a family member or a close friend. It has been really sweet. We’ve got about 9 more days left in Russia. We travel and perform almost every day so it’s been intense and a little tougher to enjoy the scenery. But the weather has been beautiful. Reminds me of Oregon Summers… Ahhh. I miss home. :)
I’m really looking forward to ending in Moscow at the Jazz Fest! Should be a blast! And thanks to all of our new fans in Pakistan and Russia! We love you all! Xoxo
Wow. I can’t believe We’ve been in Pakistan for 10 days now. We started in Karachi which is the 6th most populated city in the world. It’s supposedly one of the most dangerous cities in the world but I found it interesting that we as a band had the least amount of security with us in that city. We couldn’t have asked for a better team on that trip and we already miss them. That city will forever be in my heart, especially the orphanage with mentally handicapped children. SO hard to leave them!
As we continued on our journey our flight to Lahore got delayed and we hung out in the airport for 6 hrs straight. THAT has actually been the scariest part of the trip for me. There were a group of men from Afghanistan hanging at the airport staring at myself and the other girls and making us feel really uncomfortable. There was a language barrier and they all wanted picture after picture with us and kept motioning for us to touch them and got very pushy which I think would make any woman uneasy. The kicker was, all the boys were there to witness this but they just watched and then fell asleep on the benches like it was no big deal. Not cool! Lol. I even kicked Thomas at one point and when he opened his eyes I said, “how’d you sleep, BABE?” to give him the hint we wanted help and he just nodded his head and nodded off again. Dang.
We finally took off from the airport and I realized my seat number wasn’t in the same row of everybody else’s, go figure. So I was a little uneasy. But when I sat down I sat next to a young Pakistani man who I found out just so happened to be a pilot for the airlines so he snuck me in the cock pit on the flight and let me take a pic with the captain! I thought that was pretty cool! :) He wanted to take me to fly his private 4 seater the next day but security said no… Pickles!
When we got to Lahore the streets were nicer and it was a little more of an upscale city compared to Karchi. Still very populated but not as much. This was the trip we got to perform for colleges. Both university of central Punjab and university of Lahore were a kick ass time, but the crowd at central Punjab was so much fun! The crowd was wild! We went all up into the audience and people were screaming and going nuts. I was sweating balls that concert and dancing my ass off with the other girls. They were so much fun! And the band we collaborated with from Pakistan was amazing. They’ve all been amazing!
Our last city we visited was muzaffarabad. I had no idea we were visiting the most beautiful city in the world! Our hotel sat right in the middle of it all. Mountains surrounding us In every direction. The prettiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I did yoga outside every morning. I could have stayed there forever.
We actually took a day to go to the tallest peak at 28,000 feet. The roads were thin and less traveled and one wrong turn of the wheel and we were off the cliff! When we made it to the top we all frolicked around singing songs from the sound of music! Good times. :)
It is thought that no Americans besides the government has ever been where we had been. And if things don’t change, likely never will. Which is such a tragedy because it is the most breathtaking experience.
There was a school of children and the top who were there on a field trip and they had never seen Americans before. They sang to us and we sang to them. It was beautiful. Then there was a group of beautiful women who we sat down with and tried to communicate with and we did. Language barrier and all. At one point a woman grabbed my hand and said, “Friendship?” and I said, “yes, friendship” it was beautiful. She held my hand and another woman held my other hand as they walked us into the shrine to pray. I will never forget that memory, and I wish everyone could have an opportunity to experience that.
Muzaffarabad is said to be one of the more conservative cities in Pakistan. They are more strict on what the women can wear and the men seem to have a greater sense of entitlement. While there we got to go to a graduation of kids who had completed and English speaking access program. Basically kids who are in poverty had applied to be a part of this program and only around 60 were selected and received scholarships to attend. It is a two year program that the US Consulate puts on to teach these children the English language to provide opportunities. To be able to speak English and to get educated is a huge deal to these kids.
Something to know about this access program for the kids is that it is very controversial for them to be attending this program. They get much criticism from their community and hear things like, “why are you working with the US?! They are the one with the drones!” it was very hard to hear their struggles with the US but they were still standing there, elated to be a part of this program and understanding that the education is so important and understanding that although the US government may be doing some things they don’t agree with, that Americans as a people are good people. We’re all people wanting the same things in life and just want peace and to love each other. When the children held their home flag and the American flag and then played both national anthems back to back I was fighting back the tears. What a beautiful moment.
They say that Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. And I’ve been asked many times “WHY Pakistan? Why not go somewhere safer?” and the reasoning is, which I didn’t understand until I got here, exactly that. That it’s the most dangerous city in the world. But more so the reasoning behind that statistic.
When there is a country with as large of a population as Pakistan that is in poverty, there are bound to be safety issues. As with any largely populated area. As a whole the children are uneducated. And when you’re uneducated and struggling to get by, it is easy to take the “easy” route and get into some bad things. If you’re only opportunity of survival is to become a terrorist and have the other terrorists be your family then you might just choose that path because then you have a family of people who will take care of you. That’s why it’s so important that we are HERE in Pakistan trying to touch these children’s lives and people’s lives. So we can bring the message back that most people in Pakistan are just as scared of terrorists as we are and have the biggest hearts. That having peace lies within the education system. We need to care about them more than anybody else, not hate them or be afraid. Our piece in this picture as a band may seem very small to us, but it is HUGE to the lives we have touched. And with that said it has been HUGE to my life as the people of Pakistan have touched me dearly. We need to know that we as a people can change the world. We can have peace and harmony with everyone. We just have to want it and really care about the people. It’s all about the individual people. All you need is love… and I love Pakistan!-Dallas Brown
Today changed my life, forever. I have been in Karachi Pakistan for the last 4 days and the people I have met have been amazing and hopefully in my life always. From the workers at the US consulate who have taken such good care of us and treated us like family-to the hotel workers, the kids, the loving people who have welcomed us here with such open arms. We’ve had some amazing shows that couldn’t be topped where the kids were swarming the stage screaming and reaching to touch our hands and to get autographs as the press was taking pictures. Radio interviews, national tv talk show interviews, newspaper interviews, and photo shoots have been a common theme. We’ve been treated like Royalty here. But today was something else…
Today we went to an orphanage for mentally challenged children and actually adults too. We passed out crayons and took pictures. I had a girl come up to me and started beating on my legs like a drum and I thought it would be cool if she could try the real drums… And she killed it! She was a natural! Never had played before and did WAY better than I would have done lol. It was so sweet!
As soon as we started our set the children started to climb on stage and their spirit in their smiles went as deep as the ocean. They were so beautifully pure and could tell they were having the times of their lives. Maybe the TIME of their life. Wow. To have that effect on someone else’s life. Even if just one, I have served my purpose in this world. But the opportunity for more…I hope so.
As we left the orphanage today one of the sweetest little girls who had been hopping between my arms to the other girls arms starting crying hysterically as we left… And as soon as I got in the van to go, I lost it. I too started crying hysterically. Gabe (in the band) said it was an ugly cry and referred to it as a Lucille ball cry. Rude! ;) #Buttotallyfunny (it made me crack a smile in the midst of it all)… But I was a blubbering mess. And all day I have felt on the verge of tears having to say goodbye to all of the people who have changed my life forever. I can only hope I’ve made a fraction of an impact on them as they have on me. It’s all about the love. We are all people just wanting to love and be loved. What a fascinating world we live in.
We are now off to our next destination and are barely into this trip. Feeling so blessed to be a part of this amazing opportunity. Love to all!