Recent posts have concentrated more on life and writing here in the UK, but it's time to return to Bhola, especially during a week when thoughts have turned to Bangladesh in general. Few people will have missed the coverage of the factory building collapsing in Dhaka and the subsequent tragedy; my heart goes out to all of those affected. It reminds me of so many 'near misses' on my journeys there, events that make a great story in retrospect - because they ended happily: a speedboat in a tropical storm off St Martin Island; electricity failure in a lift (10 floors up) at the tail end of cyclone Sidr; a tribal sniper in the Rangmati hills; a bus under threat of hijack...
So, it's great to look at the most recent pictures from Bhola and see the quiet progress that continues to make a sad or sick child just that bit happier.
All the children now go to the local school for some lessons and in addition, the English teacher visits the boundary every day, and Ali teaches lipreading. We have a new combined resident teacher (for special lessons) and office manager, with particular responsibility for the accounts. Nozrul knows the community well and is already streamlining all systems!
Salina, mother of a little girl very disabled with cerebral palsy is now in charge of physiotherapy. There are at least 8 resident children and teenagers with CP or other balance and mobility problems, and many, many outpatients. Salina, assisted by Supia and Rozina, both of whom are blind, is giving morning and evening treatments, and it gives a real and valued role to the two visually impaired young women. Conversion of one of the buildings has allowed for big and bright physio room.
Valumia, the vegetable garden and 'fish pond' is flourishing, although this year there is little surplus produce to sell; a combination of poor weather and a healthy community who need to eat most of the food produced!
As always the pictures should highlight the stories.... but try as I might, I can't upload them! Battling with Windows 8, I'm still learning that it might be intuitive, but clearly, I'm not. Once I work it out, I'll edit this post to add the colour and interest. Meantime, thanks for your patience....
And I'll finish with a reminder of the colours and the emblem of Bangladesh: the red sun setting over the green fields, which forms the basis of the national flag.