Tag Archives: #Bangladesh

Access to safe, clean water for Refugees in  Bangladesh camps.

“In some camps there are latrines in front of their dwellings upon the mazes of long bamboo sheds. They are choked with the blackest rancid bubbly mixture of everything nasty that you can possibly imagine from excrement to dead animals. Mosquitoes hovering over their putrid breeding ground just inches from where thousands of people are laying on the mud floors of their huts. In the midst of the hot season, the gunk in the latrines thicken into a bog like mixture.- Andrew Day 

Unlike the Kutapalong Registered camp where the main source of water is ground water, with tube wells (one functioning tube well to 107 families on average), Nayapara camp, which is in Teknaf sub district beside the river Naf, groundwater is not available due to hydrological constrains.

In order to provide water in the Nayapara camp, an artificial reservoir was constructed within the boundary of the camp. Drinking water is supplied through a pipe line network and during the dry season, water is trucked in to the camp.


Nayapara. Photos by Andrew Day 

The operating time of the water taps is 2 hours per day, though it is of one cause of discrepancy. The families report that they only manage to collect 3 to 4 containers per family per day, 6 to 8 liters. For an average family of 6 or more this ration is hardly enough and well below the 15 to 20 liters recommended.

Shamlapur 


Leda Unregistered Camp

Nayapara Registered Camp


The water they are getting to drink and to cook with, depending on where you are will come from a dirty ravine, shallow tube wells or pumped from reservoirs. The quality of water is terrible. Most of the water sources begin to dry up at the end of the hot season, before the rain comes, making supply scarce.

Men can bathe with a bucket standing by a tube well, or some will go to the murky brown water that has collected in an ablution pond at some of the larger mosques. The women can’t do so as easily without harassment.

In these densely populated areas, many women can only hope for a small water pail to wash themselves inside their huts.
The rain will finally come during the monsoon season. The heavy downpours will cause the latrines to flood over and the hellish contents therein flows into their sleeping quarters and saturates all their possessions. Their clothes, their cooking pot, whatever that has not been taken away by the current of flood water, which when it gets so bad could rise up to chest high of this bacteria laden runoff.” – Andrew Day


In between the refugee camps, local thugs rule the areas and harass the Refugees living there. This Refugee woman from Leda Camp showing us the crushed water jugs – a harassment against the refugees preventing them from collecting water from the stream.

“It is dangerous in the forest where we go to collect wood or dry leaves, there are robbers, or villagers or forest ranger demand money from us. They take our tools and beat us until we pay. But we don’t have money to pay”. – Refugee, Leda Camp. 


Many have told stories of beatings from thugs and police for something as basic as collecting water from a nearby stream. Women folk tells of how they are stopped, verbally abused and raped if they are intercepted by these men. These incidents doesn’t get reported to the authorities as their statuses of being unregistered deem them illegal and unprotected by any laws.

The access to clean and safe water everywhere is a problem. Very few water sources are ever tested but with the shallow wells and reservoirs so overlapped with sewage, it is inevitable that eating and drinking will make them sick.

These unnecessary circumstances are breeding grounds for infections and typhoid is a reoccurring condition or rather a perpetual one, to the point where fevers and vomiting are not to be taken as cause for alarm because they are so common. A common combination is typhoid with anemia and most likely a bacterial skin disease.

Skin diseases are common and spreads easily in the communities due to the unhygienic living conditions, poor sanitation and polluted water. photo by Andrew Day 

Living is impossible when people are eating and drinking traces of faeces daily. That’s if they have anything to eat at all.

Many unregistered Rohingya live in unofficial refugee settlements, where malnutrition rampant. In one makeshift camp, the global acute malnutrition rate is at 30%, double of emergency threshold.

But despite of this, the government has denied permits for aid agencies to assist unregistered refugees, stating  that medical, food, drinking water and training facilities run by the charities were encourgaing an influx of Rohingya to the country.

Borrowing, lending, trading, selling and buying food are common coping mechanisms among the refugees to compensate for the food deficit. Those who are registered also share their food rations with those who are not. There have also been reported incidences of forced sale of food rations to local villagers which have been instigated and aided by camp personnel, the Mahjees and local thugs.

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“I have to borrow sometimes up to five kilograms of food a week to feed my family.” Nayapara refugee, family of 14.


The dry season and monsoon season each year poses a huge risk to the people living in these areas. 


Much help is needed in building safe access to clean water and to build lavatories for the communities. 



According to UNHCR the recent influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, saw 70,000 people cross over to Bangladesh since October 2016. From the 1990s, the country has had a huge number of refugees who fled the persecution and violence against them. The number of refugees in Bangladesh is reported to be almost 1 Million in total, which means only 10% of the refugees receive aid in the UN registered camps. The UN is currently struggling with a $10Million budget gap.

Adding to the already huge number of refugee in the country, these families are currently living in makeshift tents around the border areas. Some 2000 families are reported to be hiding in the forests.


With the monsoon season expected in 2 months time and almost right in the middle of the month of Ramadan, these families will have to face an even more dire situation on top of lack of food and medical care.

• UNHCR seeks equal treatment for all Rohingya in Bangladesh

http://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2017/3/58cfac434/unhcr-seeks-equal-treatment-rohingya-bangladesh.html

• UNHCR Bangladesh Report http://reporting.unhcr.org/node/2539#_ga=1.252538689.972090440.1490090221

Liz Mys and Andrew Day

Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Twitter: @theangelwinks

@andrew_day1982

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Of Randomness & Such Meaningful Moments

No doubt this place tests your endurance and sanity I must say haha… The people here (many many people) are amazing, resilient, few annoying cause they follow and pester- I don’t know why but just hmmm really can’t explain. But mostly yes life lessons aplenty and priceless in comparison to be honest. The moments that the takes your breath away … being saucy here – not including the choked drains smells and cow manure LOL

Really … I have been taught plenty in humbleness and humility and the great human spirit in my journey here, and also the same for Andrew.

Too many to mention, some fills you up with hope, joy and contentment that you feel your chest is going to explode with it .. some brings you right back down to earth ..and in a hard way.

The photo I took just outside a snack shop where we bought our lunch of bread roll and one burger. There were people waiting outside and Andrew bought extra pieces and gave it to them. On the right side of the photo there’s an old woman, she was at a dementia stage I believe, needing care and the one who looked after her was the young boy in front of her, he fed her and cared for her. I don’t know whether he was her grandson but I don’t think so- just a human being caring for another… #lifesAngels

Another experience for me was we were at the bank and it was closed but there were a few people waiting and asking for money and the security guard shooed them away. One in particular caught my eye was a mother and her son. She was young in her late 30s perhaps and her son was maybe 9 or 10. They went away quickly as the guard cleared the area.
About an hour later we were on a Rickshaw heading to the nearby market and I saw them again, this time crouched beside a shop, sharing a small packet of rice… Ouff my heart *no words …

The need here and the desperation is immense and sometimes as human beings we dismiss just how bad it is for them based on just our shallow opinions and thoughts.

Andrew was telling me last night that on the way back from the Orphanage he stopped by a small slum area just off the beach where a small community lived. They were weaving fishing nets, a man and his wife. Just hospitable (they always tend to be, the *locals here ) and showed Andrew how he ties the net around his neck and the floats he used when he fished. The style of the way this type of fishing is that the men will wade the waters till neck high and spread out their nets in the water and wait for the fish. The old man told Andrew to come again the next day and he will give him some fishes from his next morning catch.
This, from someone who hardly makes anything for his family but just enough to feed them ‘hand to mouth’ #humbled

The children at the orphanage, the wee ones, shows us too the valuable life lessons in their own way of life.
As Andrew describes it best : “Kids with no parents, living on a dollar a day and still manages to smile more than I do.”
#lifelessons #grateful #humbled

(Photos by Andrew)
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to be continued….
~ Liz ❤️
Andrew

Hopefully some handy tips for the Foreign Tourist 🌐📍

I first came to Bangladesh 22 years ago, lived in Dhaka for 3 years …and yes it’s pretty much the same way things are all round, but with more modern high rised buildings and highways built but OMG the traffic! ; especially in Dhaka it has gotten very congested; even the locals complain about it.

Today, Dhaka’s population alone is at a staggering 14,251,000 million (Chittagong, 4,816,000 people) …yes you can see why it’s that bad…. Between rickshaws, talagari, buses, lorries, cars, Tom-toms , cows, sheep, goats, dogs and people, people and more people …

On average we calculated on peak hours, which seem nowadays every time, it takes 2 hours each way for a trip from just it’s outskirts. (Eg from Uttara, which is near the airport to areas like, Motijeel the heart of Dhaka City – Distance: Uttara to Motijeel is 17kms. Dhaka Airport to Motijeel 14.9kms).

Communicating wise etc generally you are able to communicate in English but if you’re talking with locals like the Rickshaw drivers or Market sellers etc, we have found it’s easier to have on your phone, screenshots of simple Bengali phrases n words or have pictures* ready to show so the locals who don’t converse well and can’t really grasp what you are after or trying to say.. it definitely saves the nerves and the time, yours and theirs.

✈️📍When you fly in depending on the propose of visit, I’m assuming most visitors to Bangladesh are “Tourists” just like us, so yeah a Visa on Arrival can be easily obtained at the Airport. (Do check though for eligibility of country you’re from).

📇 Once your plane lands, come down through, at the Passport Clearance area, find the counter with the sign “Visa on Arrival”. The police guy at the desk will just ask you some question like purpose of visit and length of stay (easier to just say holiday or Tourist) and he fills out a receipt type paper and points you to the cashiers counter where you pay USD 50 for it , with 30 days stay. 💵
*scroll down for visa extension info*

Back track a bit to pre-travel ; on what we packed and brought along as in supplies for the simple things we are used to :

3-in-1 Coffee Packets
Tea Bags
Small packets of Sugar
(We can’t live without Caffeine) ☕️☕️

It’s not that you can’t get them here, it’s just handy to have when you arrive for the first few days as you try to get your bearings of the place. Different if you are in a 4 or 5 star hotel where, you know, ..posh, of course, you have your coffee/tea provided in your room & mini bar etc (oh my ..haha *clink🍸 * ) .. can… but We travel cheap and wing it as we go.

That said I also did pack :

•Plastic Cutlery🍴
•(2 sets) Metal Spoon/fork/teaspoon

Medication – 💊
•paracetamol,
•band aids,
•calamine lotion, 🆒
•✔️cream for bites, burns, sting (Japanese brand – Mopiko- works wonders!) 💫👍
•medicated plasters for backaches 💪
•Brufen – for fever & pain 🙇

•Anti diarrhea medication (never had to use it so far, touch wood) 🚽
•Activated Charcoal

••Mosquito/Insect Repellant (A Must have!) 🐜🐝🐞💥

•Tea tree Oil ( or you can bring Lavender Oil, helps with wiping down beds for bugs etc in dodgy places) 💦😂

•Sunscreen
•Toothpaste
•Shampoo
•Conditioner
•Dental Floss

💦Water Purification Tablets – we have been drinking the tap water here , just pop these tablets in, and use it for our kettle for our tea & coffee. ✔️✔️

We bought an electric kettle in Dhaka for 1500tk and we bring it with us everywhere we go.

Other things that are handy to have :

A dozen copies of Passport sized photograph
Passport Copies
Hand held fan🔆

🔋🔌Power Bank charger for phone, iPad, laptop coz the powercuts happen very often, like daily. (Too important also for on-the-go )

We brought along too:

Rope
Clothes pegs for our laundry
Tape
Anti bacterial Wipes

And any other prescription medication or what you normally have to take for maintainace & upkeep 🙂 .. for me it is my muscle relaxant for my neck… an old injury from a car accident… Sigh….

🔆Wherever you go, it’s a good idea to bring a bottle of mineral water to drink coz it can get pretty hot and you don’t want to be stuck in the hot Tom-tom on those long trips or walks under the hot Sun and dying of dehydration. (Drama I know and of course you can buy from shops, but better to have it in your bag) 💦👒☔️☀️⛅️

Yeah because you move around so much, trips and side trips etc, better come prepared some what with a bit of supplies.

We have had one encounter with quite an appalling hotel, where there was Paan (beetle leaf /nut) red spit marks on walls n floor, insects of few kinds, food under the mattress from God knows when, awful no flush squat type toilets. That said not all hotels are like that … 3 Star onwards are decent. 5 star hotels like the Sheraton, Raddisson, and the likes, you won’t even know you’re in Bangladesh.🎩👑

🔉📱Phone and Internet : most hotels would have wifi and/or you can buy a local SIM card at Airport arrival (Robi service provider at 500tk registration) it has 3G so you’ll be alright for Internet connections where there is no wifi service in hotel or outside. 316TK for 1GB usage. If you need credit top ups just walk into any shops, they can top up for you. (just give your local mobile number). You’ll receive a text from the service provider for the new credit top up.

🚩Anyway… If for any reason … after all that sightseeing and stay and adventure you decide you want to extend your stay, you can…. for a total of up to 90 days from your first date of arrival.
What we found hardest is different people + info on certain websites is not very accurate hence different versions n explanations given which can be very frustrating. (Hence this Blog post)

Anyway if you want to extend, here’s what you need:

1. Your Passport 🎫
2. Money, 💰and lots of it. (See attached pic for visa fees according to country) Ours came to 8000tk for 2, plus 10000tk they had asked us to pay to expedite the process time which was total bullocks; it’s actually bribe money for “not much help given”.

3. A 45mm x 35mm passport photo (Bring 2 just in case).
4. A filled out Machine Readable Visa Application Form (MRV Form). 📇Download one:
http://www.dip.gov.bd/sites/default/files/MACHINE%20READABLE%20VISA%20%20FORM.pdf
5. The immigration office opens between 10:00 am (maybe 9) and 13:00pm. 🏢

The address, for the Immigration Department in Dhaka , is:
Passport Bhaban
E-7, Agargaon
Sher-e-Banglanagar, Dhaka

In Chittagong :
Mansurabad,Chittagong

For other info on getting around etc, I don’t want to be giving point to point cause it sounds so serious 👯 and some may find it easier, some may find it harder. Either way , please do read our previous blog entries as we described our experiences with all these during our stay so far in Bangladesh.

Hope all this helps!
Cheers!

~Liz ❤️

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Supplies

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Words & Phrases

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Visa extension fees

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Map Dhaka Airport to Motijeel

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“You come Loneliness?” …and other chuckle-worthy phrases & things…

One thing about traveling I must say, the language styles and lingoes are always interesting and sometimes makes you go “..huh… What?!” :p

 I remember Andrew coming back one night from the shops (during our 1st month here) .. and was shaking his head and smiling, the kind where you’re amused & surprised, can’t believe it n going “..man idk…. ”
haha best way I can describe how it was, that was the look he had..

I asked him what happened .. He told me he met a Security guard (or was it a Policeman) sitting at one of the many stalls which lined the road near the hotel. So they greeted, Good evening .. and then the guard asked .. “You come loneliness? ” Andrew was like “What?!” (in his head of course) 

The guy repeated .. “You come loneliness?..”
(*Gulp.. scratch head)

….Aaahhh what he meant was “Are you alone?” (on trip ) Hahaha awww…. 

We noticed then on several other occasions that this was the term the locals used … “Are you going lonely?…” actually means “Are you going ALONE” aaahhh 💡🔆🙆👍😂
…A bit scary-ish if at first you don’t understand what they really actually meant. Like greeting a person at night with “are you lonely” brings your thoughts to cringeworthy scenarios..

Then there’s “Available”. Like for instance you ask “Do you have bats in this country?” “Yes bats are available”
(scroll down for the bat story)
Another is “joyful” he’s a joyful person. He’s a what now? Cheerful I think that’s what they mean… 🙂 awww….

Accents and stuff are tricky much so you has to listen very carefully and much miscommunication we have (Yoda talk) …albeit many funny instances like before we came Andrew said bet we can go see elephants and stuff and get tshirts done with the elephant footprint, that’d be something eh … well so far no elephants seen… so we asked our friend “Where can we see elephants here in Cox?” (we were in the car that time) he answers from the front seat yes Elephant is available. Woah really? There’s elephants in Cox? Brilliant! Then we asked Where? He replied at Ocean Paradise. ,,,, Ocean Paradise the hotel? “Yes ..” He says . Wowzers now that’s something Elephant at a nearby hotel ,so perfect we can go see. But we didn’t that time coz we got caught up with stuff n had to fly to Dhaka for our Visa extension…

So then when we came back a week plus later , we were in Cox again and asked can we go see the Elephant now?
“Elephant? ”
“Yes Elephant. You told us it was at Ocean Paradise (hotel)”
“Elephant…? in Ocean Paradise?”
“Yeah you said..”
“Nooooo….. Elephant not available”
Elephant not available at Ocean Paradise”
“Oh but you told us “at Ocean Paradise. We remember clearly”
“Noooooooo no elephant ..
then after much confusion and back & forth talk about this, he went ..,
..Noooo not Elephant,..
Elipad ..(Helipad, ) is available at Ocean Paradise.

What?! …Awww ohhh … HAHAHAHAHAHA
We were besides ourselves n doubling over with laughter at that.
Oh my…
No not Elephant.. Elipad
Hahaha So Funny 😂😂😂

(btw we actually got to see an elephant by the other side of main road as we were driving by in Dhaka, all pretty in red and colors adorned for some type of occasion, I think) 🐘 vs 🚁

Anyway, Andrew is so good now with talking the local style. Coming from Canada, with his accent & all and plus Andrew being Andrew who is thorough and elaborate when he talks. 
the local people with average to good English can quite understand and communicate with him. But others who are not so fluent will look lost and can hardly grasp what Andrew is talking about. When we first came people would turn to me and say , some with an anguished look on their faces, .. “Sister can you please say me (tell me) what brother Andrew is talking, I’m not understand”

haha awww… and this has happened on many occasions 😋 ~ me becomes translator 🙇🙋🔇🔊

Well Andrew is so good at it now, so much so that, when he spoke to his best friend on Viber call to Canada, Balj was shocked and asked “What the hell was that?!” Tee hee .. well as the saying goes .. If you can’t beat them, join them. Well done Andrew 😉

Added: 18 Oct 2014

Take SeaBath?

“What?!”

Shower

“What?!”

Ahhh he means go swim in the sea. 😝

“Seabeach going?”

“Biscuit have?”

“Are you loneliness?”

“No elephants not available”

Now the Bat story….
🙌
One moonlit night we had tea with our dear friend up on the watch tower on the hotel compound. I saw something flying and asked “Are there bats here? ” Bat? he asked and did the swing motion of a bat (as in Cricket bat ⚾️) “No bat as in animal”. He couldn’t understand what the word meant besides (Sports) bat so Andrew googled it (images) and showed him 👉 “Bat”.
Ahh… he said something in Bengali, which means Leather Monkey.

“Yes bat is available”.
Wonderful.

Fast forward to today, ….
We just came back from the shops to get our phone/Internet credit topped up (Robi network provider) and I told Andrew I really wanted to sit on the beautiful rustic looking swing that’s by the pond in front of the hotel. “OK” he said and on it I sat, constantly yapping to him “will the branch break?” “will the rope snap from my weight?” Andrew as always, looks at me and shakes his head.
Anyways it was nice as I swung higher.. mission … done.

I got off the swing and Andrew was talking to Sabina who had followed us from the shops earlier n he was showing her the photos he took of her yesterday during our outing to go see the boats….
then suddenly one of the hotel staff appeared next to me and said “Ma’am, …. Bat”

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA 😱😵😵😱😱 (..runs away screaming …)

That got everybody looking and laughing at me.. Oh man… Rodent-like creatures are a big no-no for me and also KuKur (see prev blog post).

An earlier experience would be in one of the remote areas where there was a snake charmer in the local market and he had a big group of people standing around him, watching. Andrew got curious and we went to see it. Then the snake charmer seeing us foreigners watching his street act, opened another box and took out… a baby Mongoose ! with a collar tied tightly around it’s neck n it was shrieking … and me .. of course screamed and ran behind Andrew (See photo. ) Anyways that said, most animals, unfortunately , scare the hell out of me.,,, 🐒🐀🐇🐸🐻😼🐕🐍🐊🐉😱

…. Here’s the pic Andrew took of the hotel staff holding the bat, exactly as he did when he came up n held it to me 😬

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and the one Andrew captured of the crowd’s reaction as I screamed and ran from the little scary mongoose

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…to be continued ✌️

~ Liz ❤️

The Giving, the Receiving, the Sharing, the Caring, Compassion and the People

I have been pondering on this for a few days now… and it’s a kind of bitter sweet thing to have to reflect on,… nevertheless I think it’s a good life lesson and experience to feel the way I do and for Andrew as well as we feel the same about it; I have been trying to find the right words or a quote to start with for days now .. I don’t know if the ones I choose applies well to the depth and complexities of this .. anyways .. this blog post will be a serious one unlike the other posts we’ve done, so bear with me… ❤️

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
Maya Angelou

We began this journey, with just what we had… plus also, with a lot of hope and with an open mind… This was a place we knew meant a lot to us and though there were some goals we wanted to achieve, we didn’t know what to expect.. really.

The streets of this place, from the moment we landed in Dhaka airport to our trips to the city and slums there, then onward to Cox’s Bazar to visit and see some places and the in between trips and to Chittagong and other areas… yes it’s hard, the people and the extend of poverty is really, truly an eye-opener.

I can only tell you from my experience and from what I have seen and feel. The joy, the thrill, the intensity, the desperation, the need, the compassion, the hope, the worthiness or worthlessness … the goodness, the kindness, the want, much in stark contrast … it’s staggering. Really really is. As Andrew put it, “…at some times, the Black and White of things is so mashed and mixed that all you can see or feel and experience is just the Grey part of it. ..” I get what he’s trying to say … As a comparison it’s like of the photo he took just a few days ago… the stunning beauty of the natures surrounding and the reality of living in poverty just grips you..

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(The gorgeous beauty of the beach and sky backdrop and then you have the shacks ..)

He told me even with the picture .. it couldn’t really capture that contrast and contradiction he saw…

I get what he means…

When we go on our drives and in-between trips, on the roads, seeing the day to day lives of the people here, from the locals n tourists to the people in the village, it is as though Life is showing you, teaching you, like reading a book or watching a documentary but in it’s true grit and depth.

It is all very very intense..

Poverty here is extensive… and the need to survive mixed with desperation is hard on the soul.

Lined on the roads as you walk or drive past, few times we have seen persons, sometimes a man, sometimes a woman with just the bit of clothes on their backs, lying there … with all the light and hope lost from their eyes..

The first time I saw this, it rocked me to the very core. At what point did Life or someone lose all hope and love for this man, how did he in any point of his life lost hope in himself? How has society in it’s entirety let him spiral down to such a state where really he was left just a mere shell… void of life, joy, love and hope. ..

Really heartbreaking and makes you suck your breath hard like being given a hard blow to the stomach…

And then by contrast you see too in the villages, just as poor as the next guy, living in shacks made of planks or aluminum sheets with thatched roofs which have been mended and patched numerous times, but yet they had smiles and laughter and hospitality to offer even with whatever little or merely nothing they possessed. Kids jumping, playing, running, or swimming in the ponds with its greenish looking water… moms getting on with their daily chores of hanging the laundry or sweeping the front space of their shack… the road side-seller, be it men or women, crouching to light a fire, with tiny babies or children in tow, to cook the food and snacks they are selling for such little almost nothing amounts … which is for 10taka or 30 and a bit more for a roll of crepè like local food; asking nothing of handouts or donations, and trying their best to make it work to earn money.

Same as the SeaBeach or StreetKids with their plastic sacks scavenging the rubbish that litters the streets or doing or selling bits of trinkets or water and tidbits to the local tourists… Same goes for the Rickshaw drivers some ride past and ask and if you say no, they just ride on, some persist to a point where it’s harassment, following and expecting you to give them business even though you’re doing something as simple as walking to the beach in front.

Then you have the beggars… children as small as a few years old sometimes come up to you and first word and palm out .. “Bakshish” (means money in Bengali). From the wee ones to very old persons, some perfect with arms some without, some can run after you, some paddle or bottom shuffle towards you as they have no legs or limbs injured or deformed… the blind, the healthy looking … comes to you pointing to their mouth or stomach or to whatever afflicts them physically …

Hard hard hard to watch.

Even so, you have those who come up to you with just pleasantries and salutations, content to give a smile or spend some time chatting and getting to know you with the few English words they know or in Bengali which we try to respond and reply with to get the conversation going, and them trying genuinely to communicate without any expectations whatsoever…

Also in contrast is when you give a gift to a Managing Director in charge of Cox branch , like one of the recycled items I make as I sit and make on my spare time, a pencil holder out of a cardboard mixed nuts container, with Jutè string and sea shell and you go to their house and see it placed on their main display shelve with pride, happiness and gratitude …. such contrast right?

As much as you don’t want to, you can’t help but think of the lives they have as compared to what you or I are used to. Our kids* (by means the more “lucky” ones and those in progressive countries I guess) have iPads and the latest games on Playstation or Wii and the kids here are content with just spinning old bicycle tyres … some really work hard at very young ages while the average and well to do kids (even here) complains and whines coz the food is not to their liking…

Also you get same peoples in same situation, just slightly better like the shop sellers etc beating and kicking and chasing these StreetKids away like they are rag dolls. Andrew has come close so many times to losing it with these guys and have many times turned or put out his hand to stop or pulled the kid/s out of the way or stood between them and the people who were picking on them. He just can’t stand watching how they treat these children. Hard.

Even the shop sellers in the proper shops ( not the shack-like set ups) have this mentality of greed and bottom line…. not all, some look out for each other but some wants to hoard your patronage and look at you with disdain and irk when they see you have bought from another shop but not from them. Like fairness, kindness and brotherhood seems lost on their values of doing things.. I hate feeling that is how they are like..

Also when they see you it’s like what (more) can I get out of this foreigner … from the few StreetKids to the shops to religious group and Charity/Volunteer runned establishments…. It’s like whatever is given is never able to satisfy them in gratefulness or sincerity … there are those who do, really there is, don’t get me wrong…. but most you get those who milk it for all it’s worth. … Sigh ..

I get it it’s a hard life for them… but I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can be poor but … there must be some integrity in yourself as a human being … you know what I mean? Sigh….

Example I can give is the shop seller … wants all the business to himself where there are many other shop sellers striving to do the same… bottom line , that is to provide for their families too. And the StreetKids and beggars.. one thing is to work n not beg with a trained face, milking it for what it is worth, one thing is to slog it out and earn an honest living no matter how hard or backbreaking it is… that’s the integrity I mean…

I know some would say how would you know… or how they feel… Well it’s one thing to receive money out of someone else’s sincere help or generosity or charity but another to demand it be given to you and you only ?. , not others…

Bounty and blessings, mercy is for everyone and unity is so important in a society in its entirety especially in a place like this… but it’s like every man for himself type thing and the hardest is from supposedly respected Holy men or persons of some form of authority in establishments like the bribe and extortion, like after being given a large donation but yet instead of being thankful or sincere you backbite the other person who is in the same boat as you in terms of the struggles labeling him or them as not worthy of help or asking the person who’s giving another huge demand that you need met on top of whatever’s been already given… you give 50takas to a kid on the street and he asks for more for the shells he’s given you which he picked from the beach… Or when you give for a certain cause or purpose then a peoples decide to pocket the difference for their own themselves using the given money on them instead of the group
as a whole… pulling face if they can’t get the sum they demand… or you just gave them a huge sum and even with the sum in hand their next breath would be “..you know also… da da this one and another needs .. when and how much can you give? “…Like guys…. seriously…. It hits us hard coz we ourselves don’t have much and pitch very hard for these people to try and facilitate the help for them… yet despite that they try to get more and more and more and milk it and then pull faces … I just don’t get it.

Sigh….

It’s not for adornment or songs of praises that we give or do what we do…. I believe it benefits the giver as well as to those who receive…. but don’t brag when you give, and as much as possible , do good by stealth, or as the saying goes in charity and the likes of it, what the right hand gives the left shouldn’t know….

Same goes for those who receives … if instead of being given whatever little or much as compared to the next person, you complain and demand… Be thankful for your allotment in an imperfect world. Though better circumstances can be imagined, far worse are nearer misses than you probably care to realize.

Why is it that it’s become a blurred line between need, appreciation, thankfulness and sincerity and then tips to become greed, ingratitude and disdain and taking advantage, using your misfortunes to get more out of a person in their giving or pulling faces coz someone gave you something and you crave more and more and more….
رِزْق

Getting knocked down in Life is a given, … looking out for each other in the ties of compassion and love is the way it should be …I hope to see everyone prosper and survive it … no matter how hard life is… with love, hope, sincerity, faith and courage , God willing..

(Added: 3.40pm Oct 5, 2014) *** 💟☑️

I want to balance up this blog post by adding that despite the above mentioned issues we face, there is still that great joy and the feeling and privilege of being humbled by each and every experience we have had be it with the not so pretty side to the ones who are genuine and sincere and really appreciative of the help that has been given…. they accept it with true happiness and joy be it a few Takas, to the bigger amounts that was facilitated to go to them…

The look in their eyes and the big smiles on their faces shows us that they feel that rekindled hope and feeling of self-worth that someone actually cares , in this mad crazy spinning-out-of-control , sometimes hard hard life, that there are people out there in the spirit of brotherhood, in the spirit of true Humanity, through love, care and that even if they are in front of you in the giving part or across oceans sending the help, that someone genuinely cares and thinks of them and I think that’s a truly beautiful thing in itself…. That’s what Life is truly about… helping each other in our journeys ….

~ Liz ❤️

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“Love is the only way”.

“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human- in not having to be just happy or just sad- in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.”
C. JoyBell C.

“Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.”
Alexander Pope

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”
Oprah Winfrey

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“The wise do not buy into other people’s perceptions of who they are and what they are capable of. Instead, they bypass a person’s public persona and see who they are in their highest expression. When you see actions taken with integrity, instead of words only”