Back to Pakistan

A Fifty-Year Journey

By (author) Leslie Noyes Mass

Hardback - £38.00

Publication date:

12 August 2011

Length of book:

236 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442213197

In 1962, a newly-minted college graduate answered the call of President John F. Kennedy and joined the fledgling Peace Corps. Leslie Noyes Mass was assigned to Pakistan and given the directive to start a program-any kind of educational program she could muster-in a small Muslim village where she was the only Westerner and the only Peace Corps volunteer. After a year, she left the village, frustrated and feeling that she had made no impact at all.

Nearly 50 years later, she returned to discover a much-changed Pakistan-and a village that still remembers her. She tells both her stories, from 1962 and today, by deftly interweaving her journal entries from 50 years ago with her current day story as a volunteer training female teachers for a Pakistani non-governmental institution. Leslie Mass captures the heart and the attention of the reader with her story of Pakistanis in 1962 and those of a new generation who are engaged in building a sustainable education system for their country's forgotten children. In a series of interviews with Pakistanis from every social class and educational level, Dr. Mass gives voice to those who are taking responsibility for their country's educational problems and solving these problems within the traditions, culture, and religious understanding of their people.
Back to Pakistan: A Fifty-Year Journey is a compelling look into a country as it goes from its infancy into the 21st century.
A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week!
A lifelong educator, Mass began her teaching career in a small village in Pakistan as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1962. Nearly 50 years later, she revisits the country as a 68-year old volunteer for the Citizens Foundation, a nongovernmental organization that builds schools in the country’s poorest areas. Skillfully interweaving letters and memories with her observations of present-day Pakistan, her engrossing memoir gives readers a well-rendered portrait of both eras. Returning to a more modernized Pakistan, with cars, trucks, and buses largely replacing the rickshaws and tongas of the 1960s, she’s struck by the 'omnipresence of Islamic law,' where there are now prayer rooms in the airports, and liquor and beer no longer flow freely in city restaurants. Focusing on the accomplishments of the Citizens Foundation, which has set up hundreds of schools since 1996, and where girls now make up 50% of their enrollment, a 'staggering achievement in Pakistan,' she interviews the organization’s CEOs, administrators, teachers, students, family members, and ayahs, finding people from all educational levels and social classes trying to solve the country’s education problems. A descriptive, often vivid writer, Mass evokes the cities, villages, schools, mountain retreats, and people of Pakistan, putting a human face on a paradoxical country that she acknowledges still faces immense problems.