I still remember, we drove off to Dunga Gali, and a bunch of delegates stood over at the cold, Crisp weather at the Mukshpuri hotel. Moments later we were asked to hand in over our cell phones or cameras or any electronic device that could distract us from the long journey that stood ahead in front of us. I’m not gonna lie, I was a tad bit annoyed over the fact of me not being able to snap chat the entire experience and make my friends jealous, or take some cool selfies whatsoever. But I had to submit to their orders and I did as told. And trust me when I say this, Handing my phone over was the BEST decision I ever made.
Markhor taught me the beauty of life, how real life is and how happy we can be! It taught me that using your phone too often can get you depressed, get you bored and it even distracts you from the beauty of life and the real nature that you’re always missing out on! I can’t forget in taking those oh so real moments at Mukshpuri, the hike we had while it rained and we inhaled the sweet smell of rain absorbed by the fresh mud. Those beautiful green mountain peaks, purely genuine. No Instagram filters, no captions. It was too real and beautiful for it to be faked. I don’t think I’d ever be able to experience this while I had my phone being too distracted by the beauty of it all. And if that wasn’t enough we had several activities that touched us even more, one I recall that is my absolute favorite is the Freedom Bell. To be able to experience your entire life as if it were a movie, and to see all those moments you regret and missed out on because you were too captivated, still leaves me in tears – it directed towards a sad ending. However, fortunately we were still capable of changing that. From that point onwards I was sure that I had to choose another path, and make life worth living for. And I knew it was all up to me.
Markhor didn’t just leave me at that point, besides the speeches and the other activities and the bond we had with nature just enhanced our need to be more inspired. Fast forward I went home feeling better than ever! Of course I missed the entire experience a lot but I thought I’d rather smile over the fact that it did happen than be sad over it to end. And besides I wanted to LIVE with the inspiration Markhor injected inside me. From that point onwards I began to see life from a different angle, I used my phone barely, I started spending some quality time with my family and friends. I started visiting orphanages and old aged homes and I realized how thankful I should be for where I am today. I established an NGO and currently work for the homeless and street children of Pakistan, and I take pride in what I do!
Markhor told me my home isn’t limited to my home. My home IS Pakistan! And I AM Pakistan, and if I won’t fix the problems we have in our home no one else will! It may take a while but I believe that with one heart touched we can make a difference.
It’s not just me, however, who’s gone through the same situation and has changed through the coming years take an example of the following Markhor Alumni: Aarfah Sabah quotes “after attending Markhor, I joined my cousin for a great cause” (Arfa is now working for the conservation of wildlife and has already trained 45 kids aged 9-13 to recycle and bird watch). “There is still more to bring!” she quotes.
Ali Raza Ul Islam says “I started a leadership conference in my university, that has been functioning for the past 2 years and I’ve already trained 200 students.”
Aakif Azeem an APS survivors quotes: “I will take the experience I gained and use it to take people out of depression, and bring them back to life.” Aakif has already managed to cure 25 chronic depressed patients.
To check out more of these young inspiring Markhored alumni, visit our page on Instagram @markhor.conference