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I’ve told this story before, but that was before many of you started following t…

I’ve told this story before, but that was before many of you started following this page. And this is one of the most important stories I have to share about Pakistan. So stay with me for a moment.

This dress has become a small symbol of the generosity I experience every day in Pakistan. This is the story behind the photo.

Before driving out for a day trip in Swat in July, I wanted to pop by a local shop in Kalam and buy a shawl. I thought it might look good in pictures.

The driver stopped by a small shop owned by his relative. After rummaging in his wares, I finally found a purple shawl I liked. I asked for the price.

He said the shawl belongs in a set with a dress. Of course, I didn’t need the dress. Just as I was about to walk out disappointed, the shopkeeper suggested I just borrow the whole set – dress and shawl – for the day. No need to buy it.

I asked him about the rental price, but he insisted on giving it to me for free. After a lengthy back-and-forth, I thanked him profusely, took the dress and planned to pay him upon my return.

At some point during the day, I put on the dress and we took a bunch of photos. Some local boys passing by in a jeep seemed to think I was a Pashtun girl 😅 It was great fun twirling around in this beautiful frock with the mountains in the background.

Eventually, we came back to the shop to return the dress. Again I asked about the rental price and took out a few hundred rupees to give to the shopkeeper. He said he didn’t want the money. He wouldn’t hear of it, no matter how much we insisted. There was no convincing him to take the payment. He was simply happy to see that a foreign tourist – me – could enjoy a piece of local culture.

I find that incredible: he could have made easy money on me, yet he chose not to. Such simple generosity.

I showed him the photos we took in the dress. His lips stretched from ear to ear in a bright smile.

On the way back from the shop to the hotel, the driver turned around to me: “You see, our name has been tarnished but we are good people”.

💚


I’ve told this story before, but that was before many of you started following this page. And this is one of the most important stories I have to share about Pakistan. So stay with me for a moment.

This dress has become a small symbol of the generosity I experience every day in Pakistan. This is the story behind the photo.

Before driving out for a day trip in Swat in July, I wanted to pop by a local shop in Kalam and buy a shawl. I thought it might look good in pictures.

The driver stopped by a small shop owned by his relative. After rummaging in his wares, I finally found a purple shawl I liked. I asked for the price.

He said the shawl belongs in a set with a dress. Of course, I didn’t need the dress. Just as I was about to walk out disappointed, the shopkeeper suggested I just borrow the whole set – dress and shawl – for the day. No need to buy it.

I asked him about the rental price, but he insisted on giving it to me for free. After a lengthy back-and-forth, I thanked him profusely, took the dress and planned to pay him upon my return.

At some point during the day, I put on the dress and we took a bunch of photos. Some local boys passing by in a jeep seemed to think I was a Pashtun girl 😅 It was great fun twirling around in this beautiful frock with the mountains in the background.

Eventually, we came back to the shop to return the dress. Again I asked about the rental price and took out a few hundred rupees to give to the shopkeeper. He said he didn’t want the money. He wouldn’t hear of it, no matter how much we insisted. There was no convincing him to take the payment. He was simply happy to see that a foreign tourist – me – could enjoy a piece of local culture.

I find that incredible: he could have made easy money on me, yet he chose not to. Such simple generosity.

I showed him the photos we took in the dress. His lips stretched from ear to ear in a bright smile.

On the way back from the shop to the hotel, the driver turned around to me: “You see, our name has been tarnished but we are good people”.

💚

Written by Swat Valley

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