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Now quiet in Bangladesh

Written by Antje on January 31st 2014 21:33

Since I wrote in my last webblog about political unrest, the last few weeks were almost anticlimactic. Election day, January 5th, was very unsettling with a lot of violence, and people expected the violence to continue. That didn’t happen.
The ruling party claims that free and honest elections were held. Since opposition parties boycotted the elections, the ruling party won with an overwhelming majority. Opposition parties thus have no seats in parliament and no official vote. I had expected them to start large scale protests, but the last few weeks have been very quiet without strikes or transport blockades. So life has continued as usual. People can travel once again to the hospital and it has become busier again in the clinic. It seems that nobody dares to believe that it will stay like this and people make plans for as long as it is quiet.
 
The past month-and-a-half has been pretty cold, though not as cold as last winter, now with minimum temperatures around 11°C (50°F). Often it is misty all day and damp. Days when the sun manages to come out are pretty nice. Right now, I’m enjoying a cup of tea in the sunshine and I think it is about 20°C (70°F). Over the next month, it will become warmer very quickly and halfway March we will have forgotted that it was ever cold…
 
Last month one of my housemates returned to the US, and now I have the larger room in our house. I furnished and arranged this room with much pleasure, and I enjoy the extra space. In the next few months I will add new bookcases and a small couch. An extra bonus is a small balcony with a door to my room. I had been able to use this balcony before, but now that I don’t have to go through someone else’s room it is much more convenient.
 
New room photo 1 
New room photo 2
 
Last week workers started to plant rice again. The fields that I see from my window, were flooded more or less overnight (the little straw house below contains an electrical waterpump), and the last 2 days rice has been planted. If you look close, you’ll see that the rest of the land is still very dry. The first rains are not expected till March.
 
New planting on rice fields 
 
Next month my predecessor will come to Bangladesh for a few weeks. He will perform surgery especially for kids with cleft lip or palate, but I look forward to consulting with him about a number of issues I ran into. It will be good to hear how he would treat certain patients, and to adjust my own protocols accordingly.
 
Today there’s a ‘mela’, which is a market or fair, for the staffs of the community and development program. They expect about 1000 people for games and exhibits in which various branches of the work are being displayed. That took a lot of work, as you’ll see in this picture.
 
Mela party tent photo 1 
Mela party tent photo 2
The tent was built especially for this fair.
 
Exhibit stands
The various stands and exhibits in which the projects are displayed.
 
Village with rice plants and pond
An imitation village, with rice plants and a pond with real fish.
 
Explanation chain of care
Explanation of the chain of care with community clinics and the hospital for referrals.