30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 2 – delivering furniture

Today we got rid of some shelves and a rug.

It's all 'gotta go'!

It’s all ‘gotta go’!

All our furniture has been ‘booked for buying’ by national friends and, little by little, people are coming to our house and taking the goods. I’m enjoying the space that’s made available but hating the feeling of emotional ’emptiness’ which comes with it. We’re beginning to echo in some of the rooms now.

Not everything is being sold though. These items we took round to a friend and colleague of Wifey’s. She is a tailor and this shot below is of her entire house. It is one very small room with a straw roof, a bed, one table and a handful of smaller items.

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Taken from the door of the ‘house’ What you see is the full extent of this girl’s dwellings

This young lady has no legs from the knees down after an accident several years ago. With no husband, her family threw her out recently after months of treating her like a slave and not allowing her food. She earns a pittance as a tailor. Her story is a typical one in Bangladesh.

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When we leave, the support we give to various people – paying school fees or other educational costs for instance – will continue. While we need money raised from selling furniture to make sure our Bangladesh account is topped up in readiness for this, we are also giving away a lot of stuff to people like this girl who simply cannot afford luxuries like shelves. With so many friends here who are as poor or nearly so as her, it is difficult to know how to tread the fine line between dignity and condescension. These are people with great pride who no more want ‘charity handouts’ than anyone I know from the UK would want. Yet, they are also poverty-stricken and have needs we can meet. What to do?

The difference – I hope, though I’m sure we’ve made endless mistakes with this – is friendship. We don’t give where we think someone is needy; heavens, we’d have nothing left if we did! We give to friends in the name of friendship in ways we think and hope will be a blessing to them from one equal to another. I’d do nothing different for my friends in the rich West the context would be nothing like the same.

Ironically, as I write, we have no home to go to, wifey has no job and I’m still building up clients to write for and finishing books to publish. Effectively, when we return to the UK we become the poor people needing the help from our friends and family. Please don’t interpret this to mean I see us as poor as our friend here – that would be ridiculous – but simply that though our young friend here will never know it, nor believe it, I can empathize with her situation. The difference, of course, is that our poverty should be temporary and cushioned in one of the richest countries in the world. Hers will almost certainly last her lifetime in a country filled with people in a similar position.

Off we go...

Off we go…

Apologies the pictures are pretty awful today. Clearly the camera is objecting to leaving too and is grumpy.:-/

About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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12 Responses to 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 2 – delivering furniture

  1. Truly, “it is difficult to know how to tread the fine line between dignity and condescension.” However, the very fact that you are aware of this fine line and are concerned about it ensures that you don’t make many mistakes in this regard.

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  2. Pingback: 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 4 – Dawats and Dogs | kenthinksaloud

  3. I know the feeling of leaving from one place to another , another chapter, another page but the memories will remain and the friendship… Good Luck to you and for the entire family, God Bless

    Like

  4. Pingback: 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 3 – Ayahs and Vangaris | kenthinksaloud

  5. Kristiina says:

    I know this feeling.. Also now as I’ve been volunteering around in UK, I’ve seen so many disabled people and it’s very sad.. Also I have experienced days when I don’t even have anything to eat so I can totally relate to… Where in UK you guys will be living??

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  6. Rebecka says:

    I couldn’t agree more. The difference is friendship!

    Like

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