30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 21 – The Last Things To Go

Yesterday was a terribly difficult day despite the joyous occasion and I apologise to all of you who attempted to read Day 20 only to find a blank page and then, later, only text which was clearly meant to accompany pictures.

The internet in Bangladesh is not great though in Dhaka you can get slow, but decent, connections. Here in Dinajpur, in the lowly northwest, reception is erratic at best. Normally I find the biggest problem is uploading photos and try to get them onto the blog as soon as I can in the morning when the internet works best – even then I have to compress them to mere kilobytes to stand any chance of loading. Yesterday, the photos went on without an issue – it took the usual hour or so but they went without having to re-submit them repeatedly.

But for some reason, every single time I tried to save the draft or use the proofreader, everything except title and tags disappeared. It even scheduled a blank page to publish and, despite cancelling the schedule, trashing the post and having to start all over again from my own laptop-based saves (formatting and photos all gone of course) wordpress decided to publish my blank page anyway!

I deleted it, tried again and, sure enough, wordpress yet again published another blank version! By this point (I’d spent something like five hours by now trying to get this one thing done) I’d lost my patience. It was nearly one in the morning, I was tired and I’d abandoned all hope. It took all my strength to prevent me punching the laptop, irrationality having all but taken over.

In the end, I uploaded text and photos section by section onto the post already published so if you didn’t read the full and proper version click here and have a quick read. I’m afraid I didn’t have the energy left to re-draft or check typos nor curb my excessive love of the passive (I dare not touch it now) so please don’t judge me!

I didn’t want to belittle the importance of  bijoy dibosh, Victory Day, with our comings and goings so I only mentioned the important things – my school biday the day before, giving goats to our friends and the celebration of Victory Day itself. Today I want to mention a few other things which took place.

Yesterday morning, taking advantage of the national holiday, we had a lazy breakfast time and expected no interruptions as we padded around in our pyjamas. But, as LAMB people know and regular readers will remember, TIBThis Is Bangladesh!  – where anything can (and usually does) happen.

Well, TIB happened to us in the form of one of our friends at LAMB, responsible for transport, knocking on the door first thing and telling us he needed all our barrels immediately. They were taking advantage of the celebratory day and, therefore, lack of hartals and oborods, to shift everything that needed to go to Dhaka.

STILL not emptied!

STILL not emptied!

Four barrels were packed but we’d ended up having to get a fifth and it was still only half-full. This picture of Thing I’s room AFTER the barrels helps to explain just why that fifth one wasn’t packed. The house is STILL full of crud some of which needs throwing away, other bits giving away but we’re still finding we lift a pile up and find an “Oh – we must take that!” item.

*

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But, TIB, and the barrels had to go. A hasty ‘chuck it all in and lock it up‘ took place as the other four barrels were rolled and lifted down the stairs and into a car. To my knowledge they got to Dhaka but I’ve heard nothing since to confirm. Oh well, they’re only things I suppose…

With both cases and barrels now gone, we are living out of one suitcase and four hand luggage bags. I’m praying we find nothing else of great import/weight/size that needs to go in. The house is almost bare and I think we’re all feeling the strain of being dispossessed. We’re here but somehow not here at the same time. Thing I certainly found it all getting to her yesterday and was very sad after the Victory Day celebrations.

There was one more major thing to go however – our electric piano.

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If you’re not a musician, you may find it hard to understand why this was so hard to say goodbye to it but this instrument has been played, bashed and practised on every day for over four years. Money raised from a friend selling our old antique VW beetle back in the UK paid for this luxury and it has been a blessing for me and both Things. Through the piano, I’ve taught them both every week to have musical skills and love for music which, I hope, will remain with them their whole lives.

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I pretty much gave being a music teacher when I joined LAMB because that wasn’t the need LAMB school had. However, music education is missing at the school so I had to take on teaching my own two which has not always been easy. I would have failed a few OFSTED inspections had an inspector ever seen me teach/get angry with my two little ‘orrors. Thankfully,  I was never observed and no one will ever know…

This piano has given me great joy and ensured at least one regular activity with my children, something now we all share intellectually and emotionally as a family. Although I have a few years of teaching them left, they will probably be my last instrumental students and I’m pleased with where they’ve got to so far.

All these thoughts were wrapped up in taking the piano away to the friend who’s buying it. The space left where the piano stood seems very, very wrong to me.

After all that, it was time for some comfort in the form of friendship and food! In the evening we ventured into the inky black night to a village up the road for another dawat with a colleague of Wifey’s and good friend of the family.

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Our friend is one of several Muslims we know and love well but she is also one who every year has made sure we’re invited to her home for a meal over the sacrifce Eid period. We said to her, as we left, that we have to make sure our visits to Bangladesh are timed to coincide with this special festival so we can continue being fed at her home!

We were only partly joking.

(Ed. note – the internet was only part-improved this morning. This post took four hours from beginning to end to finally upload and go. Thankfully, I was able to get on with other work as pages continuously reloaded and words, again, disappeared. I AM looking forward to broadband-speed in the UK…)

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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7 Responses to 30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 21 – The Last Things To Go

  1. Pingback: The Return of the Lost Five | kenthinksaloud

  2. not to minimize the difficulties there, but i cant get wordpress etc to work right here either.
    i admire your learning the instsrument (mixed with envy)
    safe travels
    doug

    Like

  3. Seyi sandra says:

    This looks like a lot a work Ken!

    Like

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