Bangladesh is a land of contradictions. Feast and famine go hand in hand; everything is possible and nothing is possible; it’s the most wonderful place to live and the worst. Those of us living in the middle of nowhere at LAMB will travel all day to get to Dhaka to take a break somewhere nice and often pass our friends who live in Dhaka coming to LAMB for exactly the same reason.
And Bangladesh is a land of droughts and floods in equal measure.
Yesterday, after days of no hint of rain at all, the heavens opened.
The Legend of the Field of Fish
When we first came to LAMB we were told the legend of the time a rainy day like this came and the compound pukur (lake or pool) flooded over and the school playing field filled up so much people swam and fished in it! Considering LAMB is walled in, this was almost miraculous. Ever since, when the rains come down hard, I look to see if the pukur or field have flooded. Alas, after seven years of living here or visiting during the monsoon season, it’s never happened. It may not sound a lot but you’ve got to realise we really do live in the middle of nowhere and for fish to be swimming in our school field is major headline news…
Anyway, we awoke this morning to find the rain was still whooshing down as it had all night and the gardens and paths surrounding our abode were no longer there. Family Ford-Powell were on board ship in the middle of a large lake.
Of course, by mid-morning after the monsoon rains eased a little, the water began to drain and some part of the paths returned. The obligatory checks with friends and neighbours began. The house below us lost their Papaya tree – which was only small – so it was a blessing one of our huge coconut ones didn’t go down as happens most years. Some friends lost their houses in the nearby village but they’re made of mud, straw, tin and bamboo and will be rebuilt quickly. No lives were lost to our knowledge and it was all ‘status fine’. Though it rained long and hard, the storm had been relatively gentle in the end.
So we could all begin our day enjoying the coolness which comes with the rains and the feel of warm, muddy water through our toes as we squelched through the pools along the path with a clear conscience knowing all our loved ones were safe.
My children are on holiday and so off school. Thing I has been ill and so is technically grounded in the house though she is going stir-crazy little by little. Thing II, though, I’ve barely seen all week as his ADHD keeps him bouncing with his friends outside these four walls most of the time.
Today, an hour before lunch he popped in, drenched, just to visit the loo before rushing out to return to the drenching. Where had he gone? Amazingly, the school playing field had finally flooded – something I’d given up hope of seeing. Thing II was taking full advantage of it.
So I got the camera out and took Thing I for a quick walk to go look at the sight. On the way, we noticed the pukur more full than I’d seen all season. Yesterday it had been almost too empty to swim in at all. Now there were hardly any steps left leading down to it and the diving platform was completely submerged.
Likewise, the school garden was mostly under water.
And here is the school playing field – you can see the sports nets up in the middle of the water.
Thing II, of course, was already enjoying it but I didn’t expect Sandie, one of our very dearest friends in Bangladesh visiting LAMB right now, or Ria – one of our special ‘adopted daughters’, to go wading into the field/lake too!
After a while Wifey came to watch, kicking sheep out of the way, and she gave permission for Thing I to leap in too. After moaning she couldn’t go in, my daughter soon realised it was freezing cold! It didn’t stop fun and frolics though.
Finally, Sandie – inspired by her mad antics in the field – decided it was time to brave our pukur. She had never been in before fearing the snakes and fish which inhabit and share the pool with us, but today was clearly a day of madness. Our four fools finished with a photo shoot together and then it was time to go home, shower, change and enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate under a blanket.
In this last respect, at least, it could well have been England.