Cynthia D. Ritchie was always fascinated with experiencing different cultures around the world. She dreamt of visiting a foreign country and delving into its traditions and norms. She wanted to live a life which would produce a positive impact upon the lives of others. Both her dreams came true in 2010 when she was assigned as a goodwill ambassador to Pakistan representing the City of Houston.
Since then she has been in love with the country and its people. Upon experiencing the culture and the hospitality of Pakistani people firsthand, Cynthia realized that the media was not portraying the good side of Pakistan to the world. She travelled all around the country and was surprised by all the great things the world was unaware of regarding Pakistan. The dark portrayal of the country in the media and her contrasting experiences in the real world pushed her to make a documentary on the country and its healthcare needs. Cynthia has partnered with PBS for the docu-series which is aptly named ‘The Emerging Face of Pakistan’.
We asked Cynthia what are the top 15 things that she loves about Pakistan. Here are the things that she fell in love with during her time in the country:
Cynthia is absolutely in love with the Pakistani people and their hospitality. This isn’t one sided love though. The people of Pakistan love her back with all their heart and treat her as their hero on the social media. She recently asked for a picture for her facebook account which resulted in hundreds of submissions from all over the country.
If there is anything that people can’t deny about the region, is how tasty the food is. Cynthia, like everyone else, enjoys the delicious food Pakistan has to offer.
One of her fondest memories is a Skype call to her mother after her first two weeks in the country. Her mother noticed that she had gained a little weight. “Everywhere I go, Pakistanis feed me,” she claimed to her mother, who quickly went from worried to self-assured.
One thing you quickly learn about the country is how it is blessed with beautiful landscapes and scenery.
Magaaz aka Brain Masala
Another delicacy from Pakistan, this is basically a dish made from the brain of the goat. It’s delicious and will leave you craving for more.
This didn’t come as a surprise to us. Doodh patti is basically a mild version of tea which is locally called Chai. So, all the Pakistani fans who are constantly fighting between Chai and Coffee, well the queen gave her verdict.
Mountains along the China/Pakistan border
Yet again the breathtaking views from the country have made Cynthia fall in love with the place even more. This time it is because of the giant mountains in the northern region of Pakistan. Fun fact: Five of the 14 highest independent peaks in the world are in Pakistan.
Beaches of Baluchistan
Although Baluchistan rarely takes the spotlight in media but one visit to Gawadar will shift your views about the regions. The beaches along the Makran coast and Gawadar are breathtaking and truly magnificent.
Sufism of Sindh
During her time in the Sindh province Cynthia fell in love with the presence of Sufism in the region.
Spirited Competition between Pakistanis and Indians at Wagah Border
India and Pakistan are always fighting each other to show who really is better than the other. This is most clearly manifested in the parade ceremony at Wagah Border where the two sides taunt each other in front of a huge cheering crowd.
The Pashtun’s hospitality and BBQ
Pashtun tribe of Pakistan is renowned for their generous hospitality and their amazing treatment of their guests.
The festivities of the Kalash
The Kalash region is an amazing sight-seeing place for the tourists. Visit the place during their festivities and you, like Cynthia, will fall in love with it too.
Murree Brewery is the most famous brewery in the country. Cynthia is so impressed with it that she included it in her list.
Apricot oil of Hunza
The apricot oil from Hunza also made the list of Cynthia’s reasons to love Pakistan. For those of you who might be wondering why is this so, read the benefits of apricot oil in skincare and it will answer your question.
The fashionable Shalwar Qameez
Pakistani culture is about modesty and respect. This culture is reflected in the traditional shalwar qameez attire worn by people all across Pakistan.
The industrious and innovative youth of Pakistan!
With nearly 40% of its population falling below the age of —- the nation truly is a young nation. But how the youth is improving and building the face of Pakistan all around the world is what made Cynthia fall in love with the youth of the country.