30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 16 – A celebration, not a Goodbye

Half this series done now – while I’m enjoying keeping this ‘public journal’ it’s also somewhat like a ticking bomb too. Very mixed feelings. 😦

While the courts continue to debate the legality of Molla’s execution the UN officials who came to Bangladesh to persuade the two ‘iron ladies’ to talk to one another have now left. Taranco came believing a solution is possible if the two will compromise and has left saying the same thing: in other words, he achieved nothing but the hollow victory of persuading the two to meet a third time without him. Both have since spouted the same rhetoric as before.

Meanwhile, our flight tickets from the north to Dhaka (now the only secure way to travel the country) have been cancelled by the airline and re-sold to us at a higher price! Only in Bangladesh could a company just decide to invalidate tickets already sold and sell them to the same people all over again. In the UK such corruption takes more subtle forms…

But – what can we do? Nothing except get on with and enjoy what we have. Last night was all about enjoyment.

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Officially, Wifey’s biday, or farewell party from LAMB and, specifically, her Rehab department; in reality, her staff refused to make it a biday which is a little like the french adieu, suggesting the person leaving will never return again. Instead, it was a celebration of all she has done over eight years working with Rehab and five years of running it – with an expectation that she will return again one day. It is an expectation we all share as a family too – inshallah. 

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I’m sorry that the photos are not very clear; the lighting conditions were not good and I was surprised that we were asked, as a family, to come up to the front. I thrust the camera at a friend and told them to click but I couldn’t adjust the settings myself.

Many people from all the departments at LAMB got up to talk about Wifey, her achievements – thousands of women and children treated at the Rehab centre, hundreds of club feet corrected and so on – and her contribution to the hospital and LAMB in general. Before we knew it, several staff members started on personal stories of their legs or back being treated by my good wife and I wondered if tales of her raising the dead would emerge (and such a tale does exist, believe it or not)!

Wifey is good in action but hates public speaking so she got around this by giving a presentation from the laptop saying thanks in English and Bangla for all that our many good friends and mentors at LAMB have meant to her and to us as a family.

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This was the ‘big blowout’ for the woman who was foolish enough to become my wife seventeen years ago and it was a lovely celebration, much deserved.

Receiving many very lovely gifts.

Receiving many very lovely gifts.

We were given sage advice before we came to LAMB that we shouldn’t come hoping to make a difference, to change the world in some way – that way leads to disappointment – instead we should come expecting Bangladesh to change us.

This is certainly true for me – my teaching contribution has been minimal and nothing more or less than countless other teachers, both bideshi and deshi, have done before – and, to an extent, true for Wifey too. But I am immensely proud of the fact that she really has managed, in five short years, to make a very real, tangible difference to countless lives. If I had come, accompanying her as her spouse and done nothing at LAMB myself, it would have been entirely worth it just so she could work her magic in a job she loves with people she is passionate about.

I am, in short, so very proud of that ‘foolish’ woman and grateful that through her we came to live here and be allowed into the lives of so many.

STOP PRESS: The courts have just announced that Molla is to hang. They have told the Jail authorities they may execute him ‘at any time’. If you are the type to pray, this is a good time. When Molla dies, violent clashes are certain to erupt all over Bangladesh.

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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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3 Responses to 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 16 – A celebration, not a Goodbye

  1. Pingback: 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 21 – The Last Things To Go | kenthinksaloud

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