Wifey was woken early this morning to the ominous slow trundle of a long military convoy on the main road outside LAMB compound.
I slept through it, of course. But others heard and saw besides Wifey. It’s not unknown for the army to go past in whole platoons for military exercises and the like, but nor is it exactly common. The timing with the horrendous unrest currently makes this particular convoy disturbing. Even if it turns out to be just the local troops training, it was a chilling reminder that army presence is essential in Bangladesh but is a double-edged sword. There have been several military coups over the forty short years of this country’s modern history.
The situation is certainly bad though some of the long-term stalwarts at LAMB tell me “it’s been worse”. Possibly, but that doesn’t help us that it is almost impossible to do anything except on Fridays when hartals rarely happen as it is the day of rest and prayer for Muslims here. Thursday nights, when the hartals tend to end now are a flurry of activity as every motor vehicle in the country, it seems, tries to get a week’s work done all down the road outside our house, it appears.
Now Fridays are the busy days and the rest of the weekdays are quiet in a total reverse of the normal situation.
All the accommodation at LAMB relies on gas cylinders for our chulas, the gas stoves, we cook on. Those cylinders are now in short supply and the price of gas is rapidly increasing. more worryingly, oxygen for the hospital operating theatre is running out and getting supplies from Rangpur – an hours drive away – is looking increasingly difficult.
Elections are due to take place on January 5th 2014 and I can’t see the situation getting any better before then. I can only guess where it will go from here. What is certain is that any kind of transport is now dubious.
The official word at LAMB currently is ‘don’t travel unless you really need to’ and this is sage advice, it seems. Another train was derailed last night killing several. We have friends still waiting, as I write this in the morning, for yesterday’s morning train from Dhaka to arrive here in Dinajpur for them to take it back down to Dhaka.
Practically for us as a family, we’re trying to figure out how to get those barrels we’ve carefully packed and ourselves down to Dhaka along with the cases going with us. It looks like we’ll have to fly (which is just so expensive compared to other transport that under normal circumstances we wouldn’t even consider the option) and send barrels and cases down to Dhaka very early – perhaps even in the next few days? Boro din, Christmas day, may well be spent with the four of us living out of one suitcase. I’ll have my sitar, however, so at least I’ll be able to entertain with a raga or two. Wifey will just love that. I think she’d prefer the sound of military vehicles…
- 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 6 – Bread on the table (kenthinksaloud.wordpress.com)
- 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 0 (kenthinksaloud.wordpress.com)
- Hartal ends with arson, vandalism (thedailystar.net)
- ‘Blockade’ becomes the second synonym to violence and killing in Bangladesh (aisjournal.com)
- Bangladesh : encore un autre monde (flosworldtour.wordpress.com)
- It’s messy but it’s home. Life in Dhaka, Bangladesh (ramrinfusc.wordpress.com)
- Brutal pattern of Bangladesh’s hartal politics (thehindu.com)
- And it all hits the fan: The next step of Bangladesh’s troubles (kenthinksaloud.wordpress.com)