I love how things just ‘happen’ in Bangladesh. Despite continuing mayhem in the country – we live in times where people have to ask the Government to ‘stop killing us please‘ – somehow people are managing to limp along. Those that aren’t dying, that is.
LAMB had planned some big celebrations for today – International Disability Day – in several of our clinics in the area. Most, however, had to cancel because of the ongoing hartals – in some cases, I understand, because it’s just too dangerous at the moment to have people gather together in a crowd.
So the funds were ploughed back into the main celebration at LAMB. The doctor who organised everything so well is the man who is taking over from Wifey as the head of Rehab. He did a good job (and also happens to be a really nice guy too).
The celebration began with a march from the front of LAMB hospital, around the compound and out into the road.
Then, back in though the main gate and back to the forecourt and garden area in front of the hospital where speeches took place and prayers said:
The parade then moved into the garden area for the onusthan, or show part, to take place. I found it amusing that, for all the planning and careful arrangements, you cannot escape how people all over the world don’t account for disabled people. Even more so in Bangladesh where, traditionally, disability = useless. What amused me was that LAMB’s garden entrances couldn’t accommodate wheelchairs, momentarily banning our wheelchair-bound friends from access to their own celebration. There was no way to tell this was the case (Rehab didn’t build the garden) but it shows just how there is still work to do in society – even where the disabled are championed and valued.
Once over that little hiccup, the onusthan continued with speeches, singing and acting – drawing quite a crowd. As a venture in bringing awareness to the people, it was certain well worthwhile. Hundreds of genuinely ordinary Bangladeshis – not boro loks, VIPs – heard the meaning of this celebration.
As I left everyone to write up this post, I was struck by the busyness of life around the garden as vangaris brought the sick and the wounded to the hospital and the bereaved took their dead on tractors and vangaris away. Life and death intermingle at the gates of LAMB and with the disabled having their celebration for the right to live as equals in Bangladesh in the middle of all this, it all seemed to me quite, quite apt.
- 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 0 (kenthinksaloud.wordpress.com)
- 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 3 – Ayahs and Vangaris (kenthinksaloud.wordpress.com)
- 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 6 – Bread on the table (kenthinksaloud.wordpress.com)
- And it all hits the fan: The next step of Bangladesh’s troubles (kenthinksaloud.wordpress.com)