30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 8

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…

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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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13 Responses to 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 8

  1. Pingback: 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 23 – Goodbye LAMB school | kenthinksaloud

  2. Pingback: 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 16 – A celebration, not a Goodbye | kenthinksaloud

  3. TimN says:

    You’re keeping us on the edge of our seats till the last moment:-) Hope all goes well!

    Like

  4. Pingback: 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 10 – A Teenage Biday | kenthinksaloud

  5. Lunch Sketch says:

    Hope all goes well with your travel plans … and that your family, barrels and cases are all safely united in Dhaka!

    Like

  6. Pingback: 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 9 – Bargain shopping | kenthinksaloud

  7. Tracy B says:

    Determined to go out with a bang aren’t you FPs?! And have us all biting our nails to the very last page of this 5 year chapter we’ve been SO privileged to share with the four of you. Loving the daily updates as you ‘sign-off’. Stay safe friends, with love. xxx

    Like

    • Aww thanks my lovely – yes, you know us: we can’t do anything without making a stir!
      It’s been an incredible 5 yr journey but one, I hope, that is merely entering ‘part two’ rather than a ‘final chapter’.
      See you you guys soon 🙂 xxx

      Like

  8. Ruth Subash says:

    Hope getting yours things to Dakha goes smoothly. X

    Like

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