“I cannot believe it happened in Europe, in 2016” – the plight of Idomeni

Phoebe Ramsay is a Canadian woman volunteering to help with the Syrian refugee crisis in Greece. I read her harrowing first-hand report this morning and felt I had to blog this. I apologise to Phoebe for wholeheartedly stealing her words and pictures but I feel certain that she will be happy with this small effort to circulate what the media show little or no interest in reporting on.

I ask you to read and, if you feel able, to share this on.

Idomeni March 14th 2016.

The day before yesterday, someone-we do not know the source-distributed flyers in Idomeni. The flyer had a map, and instructions in Arabic-there is a hole in the fence at this location, cross the river, if you all go together, once you get to Macedonia you will be allowed to go to Germany. The rumours spread around the camp instantly.

In the early hours yesterday, the first group tried to cross over the river, swollen with the last week of non-stop rain. Three bodies were reportedly recovered by the Macedonian police-a pregnant Afghani woman, her sister, and their cousin.

Then, mid-morning, more people starting walking. And more people followed. Hundreds-thousands-streaming out of Idomeni. They walked first through the village, down the road which turned into a muddy track through the woods and then through to the next village. Families, fathers carrying toddlers on their shoulders, kids dragging their smaller siblings in pushchairs, several people pushing family members in wheelchairs resolutely through the mud uphill. There was an electric feeling of desperate determination and hope.

Idomeni 1

We were unprepared and overwhelmed, in disbelief about what was happening. At first, we tried to stop them-we tried for over an hour, getting translators, trying to convince them it was a bad idea, that it was dangerous for their children, to turn back. We were all seriously concerned that when (or if) they did eventually reach the border that there would be considerable violence, a repeat of the riot at the border in late February when the Macedonian border police shot tear gas and stun grenades into a crowd with children, but on a larger scale. Or, as the line of people appeared to wind their way away from the border towards the mountains and the day drew on, we feared that the families would end up stranded somewhere in the foothills as it got dark. We asked them if they knew where they were going. They didn’t, really-they were just following each other. They said that whatever was ahead of them could not be worse than what was behind them. That they had to try. That anything was better than staying in the hell we call a camp. That they were going.

So, we followed too.

We all walked for hours, along muddy tracks, through farmers fields and down dirt roads, following the line of people. I saw a boy slowly leading his blind father along with a scarf. A young man with a club foot limping along over the rocks, an arm slung around each of the shoulders of his two friends. Women in sandals; people without any shoes at all. As they went, many dropped the few belongings they had been carrying-blankets, tents, extra bags-unable to carry them.

Idomeni 4

Then we reached the river. When I arrived, people had already been crossing for several hours. The river was only knee deep, but freezing and the current extremely strong, swollen with the past week of nonstop rain. Volunteers and refugees, as well as a few journalists who put their cameras down to help, had formed a human chain to get people safely across, passing children and babies along the line. An elderly woman started to faint halfway across and it took several people to grab hold of her and catch her to prevent her from being swept downstream. Small, terrified children were crying.

Idomeni 3 Idomeni 2

And on the other side, we continued, following the silver razor wire border fence always on our right. Some started celebrating and smiling once they crossed the river, thinking that was the border and that they had made it safely. We walked on. A heavily pregnant woman was struggling through a field, breathing heavily and stumbling, holding on to her husband who was carrying both a huge backpack, several blankets, and their three year old crying child. I spread a blanket down on the grass and tried to convince them to sit and rest. They wouldn’t. They couldn’t. Their fear of missing whatever unknown chance for freedom might be awaiting them at the end of this trek outweighed anything else.

What happened next to me, personally, I am describing here because it is important to be honest, but it is not an important part of this story-this is not about me. We rounded a corner, and suddenly encountered soldiers. This is when we learned that we were in fact in Macedonia, which came as a surprise to most of us-at some point in the woods without us noticing, the razor wire fence had ended, and we had all unsuspectingly crossed the border illegally. They allowed the refugees to continue, but herded all the volunteers and journalists off to the side and confiscated all the cameras. As we stood, surrounded by soldiers with guns in a Macedonian field, we heard the roar of the crowd up ahead in the distance. As for us, we were marched single file into the adjacent Macedonian village, and past the hundreds of refugees who were sitting on the ground in a farmyard, encircled by soldiers as several tanks rolled incongruously by down the dirt track, amongst the chickens, decrepit farm buildings and rubble. We-about 25 volunteers and perhaps 40 international journalists-then spent the next 11 hours in the police station in Gevgelija getting processed, fined 15, 638 Macedonian dinars each, (about 260 Euros, which should fund at least several hundred metres of new razor wire) and given our deportation papers.

Idomeni 5

The Macedonian army allowed about 1500 refugees to pass, and then prevented the remainder from crossing, leaving several hundred stranded on the hillside just before the border. MSF, as well as the remainder of our volunteer team, (those who had the foresight not to get arrested), spent all night going back and forth dropping tents and blankets, and delivering hot soup and bread shuttled in a LandRover across the river.

Although spending 11 hours in a Macedonian police station allows for a lot of self reflection, I am still struggling to process my conflicting feelings about what happened on this day. I do want to be clear that what we did-getting arrested-was stupid and by no means heroic. We let our emotions take over and it meant that 25 of our most experienced volunteers were out of commission and unable to provide aid at a critical moment, while the remainder of our diminished team worked until 6 in the morning, scrambling to help the hundreds of stranded refugees while also being deeply concerned about us (unfounded concerns, but huge thanks for the cross border dry socks delivery.) Some of my fellow volunteers have also forcefully pointed out that all of the media footage of volunteers physically assisting refugees across the river towards an illegal border crossing, puts the entire volunteer effort here and the relationship we have worked hard to build with the authorities here in jeopardy. They’re right. At the time, what I can say is that although it was perhaps reckless and very poorly thought out, what we were doing did feel deeply important-it felt important to walk with the refugees in solidarity, to witness what we ourselves could hardly believe was happening. And moreover, there were five year olds and old women trying to cross waist deep, freezing rushing water, and there was no stopping them. I don’t know what else we were meant to do but help. As my friend and volunteer Chloe wrote about her actions yesterday: “We’re not activists, we’re not smugglers, we’re human.”

The 1500 refugees who did make it into FYROM apparently were sat in the farmyard for several hours, and then loaded on trucks, sent back to the Greek border and released. As we finally drove back across the border in a taxi at 5 in the morning, we passed hundreds of people walking slowly along the highway back to Idomeni, still wet from the river crossing. There were children sitting, exhausted, in the middle of the road. They were walking, defeatedly, right back to where they had started, almost 24 hours earlier, except now missing many of their belongings, their tents and blankets, and their hope completely gone.

I’m a bit lost for words now, at three in the morning. Yesterday, I saw the most desperate scenes I’ve ever witnessed. At points, I had to shut my eyes because everywhere I looked I was surrounded by horrific vignettes of human suffering and indignity, and even thinking about it now makes my stomach clench-a mother wearing a towel for a headscarf (the only thing she had left) changing her baby on the roadside, a man trudging barefoot and wearing only boxer shorts through the fields, small children crying, exhausted and thirsty, their scared and worn out parents pleading with them to continue.

I cannot believe it happened in Europe, in 2016. I cannot believe that three thousand people fleeing war felt like they had no other option but to make this horrific, humiliating, and futile trek. I cannot believe they are now back exactly where they started, and are still without any real options. I’m not sure what else I can say, anymore.

Posted in community, Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Lone Jigsaw Piece

Dedicated to KP who inspired this allegory. Conversations after ‘Missionary Midnight’ are always the best.

puzzle

Once there was a box of jigsaw pieces which sat on  the Dining Table. The pieces were very happy together even though they were all a bit of a jumble and enjoyed the jostle and bustle of life together. Some found their edges matched and became much closer friends. Larger groups formed gradually and became cliques but that was okay because, over all, everyone was pretty tolerant of everybody else.

Then, one day, The One-who-was-having-a-dinner-party-that-evening moved the box of jigsaw pieces from the Table to the Desk. The Desk was a strange land and though the pieces couldn’t see much over the high borders of their box, they could see enough to intrigue them (even though it was a little scary too). So they decided to push one of the pieces out of the box to go investigate this strange place and report back to them of all he found. He was an insignificant little piece but friendly enough and adventurous so he was glad to go and felt good to be supported by so many friends who had helped push him up and over the wall.

Meanwhile The One-who-was-clearing-up returned to the Desk and took the box of jigsaw pieces back to the Table, leaving the lone jigsaw piece in the land of the Desk.

Back at the Table, times were exciting. Now the pieces were removed from their box home and spread out. Borders began to form and quickly and idea of who they were and who they could become started to take shape.

puzzle-piecesThe lone piece was also enjoying an exciting time. The Desk was such a different place to the flat Table which had so little features of interest. Here there were mountains of paperwork, wide rivers of pens and pencils, huge edifices of lamps and great museums of encyclopedias and dictionaries. He missed his friends back at the box of course, but this was still a wonderful place. Best of all was the sunshine which shone down so brightly all day from the window onto the Desk in ways it never did over in the corner where the Table lay.

Over time, the cliques grew larger and now anchored themselves firmly to the borders of the jigsaw puzzle and began to take charge of where the other pieces should go. It was an efficient process with lots of meetings and discussions and plans. Many of the pieces missed the lone piece and enjoyed hearing from him occasionally as he would shout from the Desk to tell them what he could see and how life was over there. Some even hesitated for a while and wondered about making the journey over to the Desk to visit their friend. But, in the end, they decided there was too much to do here at the Table and they were far too busy. Besides, it still sounded quite dangerous and… well… foreign over there. There was so much still to do in their own little world which in recent days had started really coming together well. The grand picture was really taking shape now.

And the lone piece continued to explore the Desk and loved everything he found there. He noticed that just as the sun shone down so brightly during the day, so the stars lit up the sky at night making an amazing tapestry of art which he had never seen before in his life. He learned much from the books, grew fit from climbing the mountains of papers and generally felt his life was bigger and more certain than it had ever been before. Yes, the sun was so hot it was sometimes unbearable but it was worth it for the beauty of all he could see.

Back at the Table, the pieces had finally all joined together and found their proper place too. But there was a big hole which was so obvious now that everyone was in place. They all missed the lone jigsaw piece and thought of him often. They looked forward to his return.

One day, The One-who-likes-to-finish-things-off picked up the lone piece from the Desk where the sun shone so brightly and returned him to the Table, putting him into the hole made just for him. There was so much excitement over his return! Oh how perfectly snugly he fitted into place (almost like he’d never been away) and how good it was to be back among his friends. How they had missed him! For quite some time he regaled them of tales about the Desk and all he saw and learned there.

But there was a problem.

The sun which had been so wonderful, so invigorating for the lone piece all that time, had also changed his colour. While the piece fitted perfectly in place in the jigsaw puzzle world, he was a completely different shade to the rest. The lines and contours across him matched with those around and there was no doubt he was part of the picture yet…somehow…he was too… different. The other pieces were very kind to him initially. They sympathised saying how hard it must be to have come back to boring old flat Table land after all his adventures at the Desk, how different he must feel. But eventually, there was nothing more they could say, nothing left to talk about. It wasn’t their fault. It wasn’t his. It just was.

And so they all fell into a group silence around the piece. They acknowledged his presence each day but otherwise ignored him and he felt it. He knew he was different, knew he belonged yet didn’t belong. He longed for the Desk but knew he didn’t belong there either. And so he sat, in place, and waited, and waited.

Today, he’s still waiting.

puzzle_piece

Posted in community, Culture, Philosophy, story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Slow ride in fast city (in the dirt and grime of Dhaka)

 

Wifey has gone off to teach in Jessore for the week leaving me in my jadu ghor, my little museum apartment, to entertain myself for a few days.

I’m well prepared. I still have the books I’d hoped to read in the airport before the invasion of the blood suckers. Furthermore I have already arranged to meet friends – former students from my days teaching at LAMB – and catch up on two years of gossip.

Bangladesh continues to be a strange mixture of old and modern, of changed and unchanged. The first thing I notice is that I’m talking to all these young people exclusively using the Internet. I haven’t sent or received a single text nor phone call, yet I’m chatting and making arrangements every hour of the day. Of course, when I step outside I will be alone. I have no Bangla SIM card and have been using the wireless modem here in the apartment. But that’s ok – I know what I am doing out there.

Hands are tied a little though with the recent attacks on foreigners. We are ‘under orders’ to only take CNG baby taxis. No walking. No rickshaws. This seems ok for the journeys I’ll be taking are longer ones and need the motorised vehicles anyway.

I’ve been told that the CNGs are now obliged by the government to use the meters. I don’t believe it until I try to barter a price with one driver to get me to Dhanmondi. “We’ll use the meter,” he offers without my first insisting and I’m blown away. Never in ten years have I known a CNG driver willingly offer to go by meter. Good reason too. The money I give him turns out to be just two taka (1-2 pence) more than my original stupidly low price I gave in response to his ridiculous high “he’s a bideshi” price. It’s a miracle these drivers aren’t starving to death.

The view from inside the 'cage'

The view from inside the ‘cage’

Dhaka continues to be a city permanently under construction. Every single block has at least one Tower of Babel stretching up into the sky and held together, it seems, by the flimsiest of bamboo poles. Construction doesn’t stop, day or night, as my sleep patterns attest. There’s no peaceful night’s rest in Dhaka.

As towering monstrosities vie with one another for supremacy of the sky, so the battle for the underworld seems to also be underway. It feels like every road is being dug up. Not just small contained holes, but whole valleys which stretch across roads blocking access except for the small wooden boards precariously balanced, offered to pedestrians at their peril and looking as well as feeling like a cross between a castle’s drawbridge over a moat and a pirate’s plank.

image

What’s left of the streets continues to overflow with sewage and mud. I have to remind myself that I’m in the ‘posh’ part of Dhaka as I hold my breath from the reek of piss and shit and tiptoe through the least muddy parts I can find.

I go see a dear friend and her sister. I have forgotten just how much I love ‘my people’ here and she is definitely one of mine. She cooks my first Bangla meal of the visit (the chef where I’m staying is brilliant but trained for western tastes so I’m eating bideshi all the time there) and her sister makes the best Bangla cha. When it comes to time to leave I find it hard to tear myself away. Somehow, for all the nightmare which is Dhaka, it is still home; still the place my heart feels at rest and comfortable. It can’t just be my friends here – I have people I love in the UK too – it’s the whole package. If you took away everyone I know in this land I’d still come back and make new friends. Yet I stand at the doorway of these two young angels and know I don’t want to be anywhere else – not even in Dhaka. So it’s not just the country either. Bangladesh and its people continue to defy comprehension and explanation.

It’s dark when I leave after the guards for the apartment block have failed to locate a CNG for me. I go searching for myself and after a few minutes I find one. Is he going? I ask. He is. I want Banani masjid, I tell him. He tells me his meter is broken. It’s fairly obvious it isn’t but the price he asks is ok so I let it ride. It isn’t taking long for the drivers to find ways around the rules.

The journey back is uneventful until, in true Bangladesh style, the last moment where he takes a slightly different route back and gets stuck in traffic.

image

“Go round the corner,” he says, “and the masjid is just a few minutes away. But if I try to take you in this jam it will be another hour.”

I’m wary because I don’t really recognise where I am which is odd as I know most of Banani. But I pay him and get out and follow the directions he gave. Soon I realise I’m now on Airport Road – the major road which feeds into Banani – but no idea at which part. I head into the area and soon realise I recognise nothing. I later figure out he’s dropped me right at the south end which just happens to be the part I know least of all.

I wander street after street desperately trying to find somewhere I recognise or at least a main road. I find neither. Now I’m in the dark streets at night with my white skin shining like a Belisha beacon. Under normal circumstances I would have hopped on a rickshaw long ago and had the wallah take me to the masjid. But I’m not allowed, for my own personal safety, so I don’t. I have no way of knowing I will actually wander these streets for nearly an hour.

Finally, I recognise a road and something on it. Not the shop, but the shop front. All the shops have changed here in two years but I recognise the shop design. We used to bring our children here for ice creams long ago back when they were little, what now feels to my tired legs and frayed nerves like a lifetime ago. I finally have my bearings.

The road I take is a back road. It is dark, unlit and muddy. At one point, unable to see properly, I wade through what I hope is just muddy water. I hope, but also doubt. My shoes are ruined. No matter, I intended to buy sandals while here anyway. I find my apartment block and go in, tired, a little pissed but mostly just grateful to be back.

That night, after a great meal from the chef, I lie in bed and muse over the day. I was nervous in the dark, there’s no denying, but I was also excited. That’s the power this country has over me. I’ve known bideshis go through less and say “never again” leaving to never return. But my overwhelming feeling is “this is home” and I wonder just what would have to happen to me, how bad it would have to be, to change my mind. In a country where that question could so easily be answered I hope I never find out.

Posted in Bangladesh, Culture, Life, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Return to Bangladesh

We leave the house at 9:20 am with some trepidation it must be said.  The two Things cope with the goodbyes stoically. No tears. No tantrums. This is a done deal that their parents are going back to the heartland, back to the country which belongs to all of us, without them.

We drive through the winding roads of Cumbria and, ironically, see the first real flurries of snow fall as we head to Manchester. It always seems to happen this way, when we leave for Bangladesh. It snows as we leave.

The journey goes well until we hit the outskirts of Manchester. I’ve not made allowances for the traffic moving at the speed of drying paint and I realise that we’re going to be an hour late for our lunch date with friends. But it’s ok. They are bangadeshis – they will be laid back and not be worrying.

I’m wrong.  My phone rings.

“Ken Bhai are you coming?”

“Yes Apa, I’m so sorry. We got stuck in traffic. We are just a few miles away.”

“No problem Ken Bhai,” she tells me.  And I know it’s true.

We arrive and it is good to see our friends. It has been too long since last we saw them. The irony being that last time was in a favourite cafe in Dhaka – where we’re headed to. And now here we are in their home in Manchester – where we’re leaving from.

The lunch is Bangla and delicious. So good I forget to take a picture. We eat with our right hand too – good preparation for the days ahead. My stomach is full and our minds are calming. That is until we realise through our friends that Wifey and I  are flying from different terminals at the airport. What to do? We have separate flights and separate arrival times, even separate change-over airports. We’d hoped at least to spend the three hours before flying together.

Our friends drop us at terminal two -my terminal – because I’m taking the luggage for both of us. We’re travelling light because shalwa kameezes are awaiting Wifey in Dhaka so she has brought little in the way of clothes. We check me in and the luggage is packed off to the plane. Then we walk to terminal one to check her in too. Once that is done we spend some time together before saying our goodbyes and I head back to my terminal. It’s not much but it has at least given us a little more time together.

image

The next two hours go past slowly but without incident. Then, I’m on the plane and bound for Doha. Qatar flights, I will discover, are variable. This first plane has little choice in films to watch and even less room to stretch. The food is…palatable. It’s night time now and maybe I’m grumpy after twelve hours of travel but I’m not impressed.

Three hours waiting for my connecting flight in Doha does little to improve my mood though I’m impressed that there are no security checks. I just walk from my plane to the departure gate and wait to board. Once checked in and sitting in the holding room waiting to be allowed entrance to the plane, I realise I am the only white person there. The room is full of bangladeshis and, with a smirk, I know what’s coming next and sit back to watch the comedy.

Despite four clearly designated ‘zones’, when zone one is called for, the entire room stands up as one and rushes at the doors. The Qatar staff are clearly inexperienced and overwhelmed in an instant. Not one of them speaks Bangla and obviously have no idea that this is a country of people that don’t know how to queue. There is no logic to rushing to get on board – no one flies until the last person is on board! – yet still they swamp the staff and attempt to push past.

“Please!” one beleaguered young woman begs in a voice barely audible in the noise. “Just zone one. If you’re not zone one please sit down.”

Many minutes later and some have returned to the seats. Then the staff call for zone one again and, sure enough, everyone stands and rushes at the staff again. This is going to take a long time, I think to myself. I’m right.

When the plane finally takes off I’m aware of a fear within me. What if I don’t get in? What if my wife doesn’t get in? What if Bangladesh is different? What if it no longer feels like home? Where do I live then? Where is my heart?

I am distracted by the meal being served. This flight is better. More films, better food too. But it is the Bangladeshi sat behind me who is the entertainment. The cabin crew speak no Bangla either and the meals have not accounted for another Bangla cultural truth.

“Sir, would you like the chicken or fish option?”

“Oh! Yes. Pleeze. Chicken. Wid rice.”

“I’m afraid these meals don’t come with rice today. It is salad and potatoes.”

“Oh sorry, sorry. I have fish then, thank you. Wid rice.”

The air hostess does her best to keep her cool.

“I’m sorry sir but our options today are not served with rice. Would you like the chicken or the fish?”

This continues a little longer until eventually it seems to get through. Chicken is chosen. As the lady walks away to the next person I hear the man mumble “wid rice” one more time quietly to himself.

It doesn’t matter how much you eat, or how delicious the meal might be. If you’ve not had rice, you haven’t eaten.

Four hours later and we begin the descent into Dhaka. My heart is pounding and I feel sick. Then we break through the clouds and I see my first foggy glimpses of my Bangladesh. My heart breaks and I feel tears welling in my eyes. There is no doubt now. I still feel the same way even after two years apart.

image

We land and I walk into the airport. The smell hasn’t changed either. What has changed, and has been the source of our worry, is the option to have visa on arrival rather than apply to the Bangladesh High Commission as we have always done in the past. It’s much cheaper this way but none of our friends have ever dared to try it.

Apart from the usual farce of not knowing where to queue to get the form and pay for the application (I discover there that it isn’t $50 as all the websites say but $50 plus tax – but he lets me off the one dollar extra I don’t have), I simply go to the immigration desk to have the visa granted. That’s it. I walk out to the baggage area in half the time it would usually and at a fraction of the visa cost.

I pick up the bags and sit opposite the immigration desks ready for my four hour wait for my other half to arrive. I’ve brought plenty of books to read so I’m all prepared. Alas, I haven’t allowed for company.

Within ten minutes I have shut my book and look up to see myself in a swarm of mosquitos. They seem equally interested in my luggage as me and so I abandon my bags where I can keep them in sight and begin walking around the walkway next to the immigration desk. Four hours later I’m still doing it, trying to out walk the mozzies and mostly succeeding but still needing to lash out and crush the odd persistent one. The floor is littered with their bodies but they are too small to notice.

I discover that airport life is deadly dull when planes haven’t landed and people aren’t rushing en masse to immigration. So about a dozen staff watch a mad foreigner go round and round in circles for four hours for no apparently good reason. They have nothing better to do I guess. I’ve done nothing to improve perceptions of the British however.

Eventually Wifey appears and she too has her visa accepted on arrival (though she is made to pay the extra tax amount). We find our driver outside and begin the slow journey to the flat in Banani which will be home for this week.

Nothing has changed. The traffic is still chaotic. The people are still too much. And even though we’re barely out of winter it is already hot. The traffic lurches from dangerously fast and out of control to total standstill often within seconds of each other, but eventually we come to our building, grab our bags from the car and we’re taken to our flat.

It is a beautiful place, full of ornate furniture and ornaments. I feel like I am to sleep in a museum. But right now that’s fine by me. I’m ready to drop. The last surprise is to see our bed which I later discover belonged to a Vietnamese princess. We feel majestic. We feel like death.

It has been almost exactly 36 hours since we left Cumbria and we quickly fall asleep, knowing little until the call to prayer from the local mosque at 5 am the next morning. It doesn’t matter. We’re home.

image

 

 

Posted in Bangladesh, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Going Home

Over Christmas I finished a big project for a client which saw quite a lot of money come in from my writing. Normally I would have banked this and added to the pot from which I draw a monthly wages for myself. But this time I decided this large sum needed to be at least partly used on something special.

And so I bought a ticket for Bangladesh.

Yes, after just over two years of being exiled from my heartland, I’m going back. I’m heading home.

Home.

It’s interesting that despite all the predictions otherwise (that I’d adjust to being back in the UK, re-find my place, my role here and adapt), I still think of Bangladesh as home. I’ve always maintained that when I left the country I left my heart there and I still feel that today. I haven’t found ‘my place’ here. Far from it. Instead I continue to despair at how British people treat each other. This is transient. I am a foreigner here, trespassing on a culture I can’t agree with.

It doesn’t mean that I’ve not known happiness in the UK – of course not. I have my family, my friends and perks like finally owning a house big enough to have all my books, CDs and musical instruments housed in one room. my study is my haven and I never tire of working here all day. Facebook too has made sure that almost all those who matter to me who are not physically by my side are still with me every day. And we have a cute dog who is our life and joy here and makes every day special. I am content – truly.

But it’s not Bangladesh.

So, this Saturday Wifey and I will be flying from Manchester airport and spending two weeks in the heartland. This assumes that we have no problems getting a tourist visa on arrival or that something else doesn’t go stupidly wrong! Otherwise, the next you hear from me, I will either be in Asia or, if the internet fails to materialise, back from the country. Either way, you’ll be sure to get a report from me on my experiences. Get ready! There will undoubtedly be turbulence.

My Bangladesh

My Bangladesh

Posted in Bangladesh, Life | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments