Educationist and researcher Doğan Yücel wrote about his leaving Pakistan, where he lived for 7 years. He narrated the interesting events he had experienced during the last months and the surprises he encountered during his journey.
In May 2011, I had to leave Pakistan, while I had planned to stay for more years until then. My wife, who could not get used to the climate of the country, wanted to leave. I thought of moving elsewhere due to my disagreements with the school administration in Karachi. I also wanted to have a master’s degree.
Back then, the master’s degrees received abroad were issued equivalence in Turkey if a student had full attendance to the respective degree program for at least 220 days. That’s why I had to stay in Pakistan for 80 more days. In the winter, I sent my academic documents including the diplomas to my colleague Mr. Musa in Islamabad for equivalence application. He put the envelope containing my diplomas and transcripts on top of the files on his desk so they would not be lost. When he returned from the washroom, he saw the janitors were putting out a small fire in his room. Among the burnt papers was half of my envelope. Files piled on the table fell on the gas room heater while he had been gone and half of my documents, including my original high school and university diplomas, had been burned. Fortunately, the other documents could be saved.
Interesting sight I encountered when I returned home
When we decided to leave, we started to sell our household items. A friend who was to get married in the summer bought the items he liked. I sold the remaining to a nearby furniture store for the 20 percent price of new ones. We packed and sent some of our clothing to Turkey with colleagues going for vacation. We took the rest to Turkey ourselves at the end of June. We still had to leave a few suitcases in the house. At the beginning of July, I introduced the landlord to my colleague who would rent the house after me. My colleague paid the first rent deposit. The landlord said his son’s wedding would be in the summer and that he wanted to use the house for the guests. I agreed but I stacked the furniture in a room so they would not be damaged. I had agreed with the furniture dealer to submit the sold items to him after returning from Turkey.
I stayed in Turkey for only 10 days and returned to Karachi. I had a painful surprise at home. The landlord had the wedding guests use my items. What’s more, they smashed the bedroom door to get them. They left without cleaning the mess. I cleaned the house and the furniture dealer came. As I was about to load the furniture, the landlord arrived. He said he would not let me get things out of the house without paying a month’s electricity bill. I paid him nearly the equivalent of 100 dollars and drove him away. Afterwards, thinking it would no longer be decent for me to stay in that house, I went to the guesthouse of our school.
Surprise news while waiting to work in Tanzania
About two weeks later, my colleagues returned from their vacation in Turkey. That’s when I moved into a house with single colleagues. I spent the month of Ramadan there. I was posted to Tanzania and I was expected to report for duty at the beginning of September. First, I had to pass the remaining master’s degree exams in Islamabad. I went to Islamabad, stayed there for 25 days and sat for the exams. Later, I went to Karachi and packed my bags. October 10 would be the Day 220 required for the degree equivalence. I got no salary for August and September because I did not work. The master’s degree cost me dearly. Later, I got the news of my posting to another country.
A week later, when Mr. Ismail called me from Bosnia and Herzegovina, I learned where I was posted. During these two months, some friends elsewhere offered me to work as the correspondent for the TRT (Turkish Radio and Television) first in Islamabad, then in Kabul. However, the then-TRT management did not accept me, presumably for ideological reasons.
A staff member of our school left me at the airport on October 10, 2011 with my luggage weighing nearly 90 kilos. No one else was there to bid farewell. When I entered the terminal, they treated me like I had never been in seven years. The customs officials searched my luggage for over an hour. First, they searched it manually and then x-rayed it several times. When an officer pierced the suitcases with a tool, I raised my voice and said, “If there was something amiss, it would have been visible in the machine. You have no right to damage my luggage!” I was about to miss the flight. When I argued, the officer stepped back. They weighed my luggage at the Turkish Airlines check-in counter. There was some excess baggage. I phoned the Turkish Airlines station chief, whom I had been acquainted with from previous flights. “Let me pay for 10 kilos and the rest be your kind gesture,” I offered and he agreed. I paid 150 euros for the excess baggage. I had such an adventure until I got on the plane.
Two weeks of work finished in two hours at Fatih University
In Istanbul, I had to complete the required documents for a job application in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides, my parents too had arrived in Istanbul. Since we had been to a warm country for seven years, we had almost no winter clothes. We bought things like sweaters and coats. I went to the Fatih University for some diploma procedures. The secretary said, “It can be ready only in 15 days!” I explained the situation to the head of the Department of Turkish Language and Literature, lecturers and one of the research assistants. I and the research assistant visited the Registrar’s Office. We said we would personally deliver all documents. We visited each signatory. Fortunately, the dean and the rector were at their offices that day. We could have the documents signed without delay. I paid for all the fees. A task which would take two weeks could be completed within two hours. The next day, I had my documents apostilled at the Governor’s Office.
When we landed in Sarajevo, it felt as if I was abroad for the first time. I could not read or understand the Bosnian language. The institution manager welcomed and settled us in the guesthouse. Two days later, we shifted to a house…
Part Thirty-One: Sacrificial meat distribution in Dadu after the devastating floods