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Elections on December 30!

Written by Antje on January 1st 2019 19:36

Bangladesh is tense. National elections were held on December 30. That day, travel is curtailed, and everyone is anxious about whether there will be unrest. Thus far, there have been no riots or strikes, but there are daily newspaper reports that members of the opposition party have been arrested or attacked by members of other parties. (For an update on the elections you can read this article from the BBC.)
 
This past month, lots has happened. I have enjoyed a beach holidays, and we celebrated Deliverance Day…
 
During my vacation, I spent a few days in the capital city of Dhaka, and afterwards a week in the guest house of a mission hospital in the Southeast of the country with a lady friend. From there, a one hour bus ride took us to the beach. We went twice. It was a beautiful, long beach, and not too many people (for us, it is cold here!), so we could take long walks without being harassed. I walk barefoot in the water, but swimming was too much… These days took us completely away from our concerns at LAMB. 
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Everywhere, fishermen were at work. Below, you see how they launch a boat with united effort, but they also fish with nets. 
 
On December 16, Bangladesh celebrates the end of the War of Independence in 1971. We celebrated with mixed feelings this year. Early in the morning, one of our staff members passed away. Three years ago, I had operated her for breast cancer, but unfortunately the cancer had metastasized. The funeral was the same day. She had her husband and 14-year old son.
 
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Here we stand around the open coffin just outside her house, at about a 10 minute walk from my house. 
 
Immediately after the funeral, the cultural program for ‘Victory Day’. It was quite a switch.  
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 The children in the foreground had just finished their dance. It was a mix of dance and song, mostly by kids from our staff. 

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As medical director, I am often asked to sit up front. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do a speech this time…

The day after ‘Victory Day’ we celebrated Christmas with our staff. We used the same party tent a second time. Here are a few photo’s of the Christmas play with a real fire for the shepherds, as well as live sheep. We keep sheep because our laboratory uses sheep blood to make bacterial cultures of puss and other medical tests. Once a year, they get to be our actors...
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And finally, there’s Christmas.
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Here’s a picture of me in my Christmas sari in front of our Christmas tree.

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All foreigners sing an English Carol in the Christmas Church Service. 

Finally, I leave you with best wishes and God’s blessing for the coming year. 
 
For us, it will be a challenging year. Our nursing director has resigned very recently and we have no one to replace her. Fortunately, she left a well-trained manager to care for the daily nursing duties, but her ‘management responsibilities’ will be added to my job for the time being.