Thoughts of those who went to Bangladesh earlier this year
I found the Bangladeshi people so very warm and friendly. Our work group of the four of us plus twelve young people from The Church of Bangladesh really bonded. As one of them said on the final day ‘we became like a family’.
We shared the hard work, the sense of achievement at a job well done, and learnt a great deal about one another’s culture and customs. We taught them how to do the ‘Gay Gordons’, ‘Donald Where’s your Troosers’, ‘Ten Green Bottles’ and ‘Head Shoulders Knees and Toes’- none of which I will be repeating on a Sunday morning or at any other time in public!
I learnt from them to take pleasure in small things. The young people had so much fun playing games we enjoyed as children. The children didn’t have the fancy toys our own enjoy but were seen to play happily with a bicycle wheel! We all take for granted our comfortable lifestyles but they who have so little wanted to share all that they had with us-it was very humbling.
What stands out particularly for me was the worship in a Very cold church at 7am every morning. The sense of fellowship that I felt there I also feel at Carnoustie Panbride Church and it is very special. The hymn ‘I am the Church, You are The Church, We are The Church Together’ which we also taught the young people, really emphasizes how alike we all are wherever we come from; I will always be reminded of the happy times in Bangladesh whenever I sing this hymn.
The food was plentiful but I have to admit to an aversion for curry for a few weeks after we returned, the coffee and chips we had on our last afternoon in Bangladesh tasted amazing, and I don’t drink coffee!
We all adapted quickly to the cold showers, the squat toilets and the bedbugs! And I would be delighted to return to see more of the interesting country that is Bangladesh.
The people – everyone was so welcoming – from the people who met us at the airport to those we met when out visiting and everyone in between.
The kindness- I was, as before, overwhelmed with how kind the Bangladesh people are. No matter how little they have they are willing to share what they do have.
The country itself – the countryside is absolutely beautiful and so much greener than you think it will be. The traffic in the big towns and cities is incredible – there seem to be no rules of the road – and driving can be very scary!
Building the road- working together with the Bangladeshis and starting something that, hopefully, will make a difference to many folk. The 4 of us got on well together and with the 13 Bangladeshis I think we made a formidable work team
The children and young people in schools and further education -how eager they are to learn and how little they have. They all want to do well and make a difference for their families
The people – It was great getting to know my team mates, both those from Bangladesh and those closer to home. We certainly know plenty about each other, perhaps not all for public consumption, but hopefully as good friends for life.
R&R in Dhaka – A little time to adapt to and from Bangladesh time, and to shop!
The food – At no point could I ever say I was hungry, in fact, quite often I felt fit to burst! Our hosts were wonderful; providing us with many local delicacies and countless cups of tea. The fruit was exceptional and curries flavourful, if perhaps slightly toned down for our benefit. The only thing I wasn’t overly sure of was the equivalent of super-noodles and cabbage at breakfast time, although the cauliflower and paratha combo was a real hit on the cold mornings.
The power of team work in helping us achieve our goal ahead of schedule – Although we didn’t really know what we were going out to construct, and possibly still weren’t overly sure several hours into construction, it was fantastic to see how a great deal of effort and teamwork, in often very hot conditions, resulted in the clinic road being completed to a distinguishable state, a day ahead of target!
A visit to the silk factory, and the subsequent visits from the tailor. – Looking around Dhaka I realised that the ladies in Bangladesh are very slim framed, unfortunately I had set my heart on taking home something I could wear but was finding this a bit of a struggle! One of the Bangladesh team understood my problem and arranged for us to visit a silk factory where I could buy the material for a tunic and have it made-to-measure. After a few stretches of the tape measure and 24hours I had the most beautiful tunic and was grinning ear to ear. Only problem is that I need to wait for some warmer weather to wear it!