The Blog

One of our Ahmadi friends is already resettled to Canada!


One of our Ahmadi friends, who was a refugee here in Bangkok made it Canada last week. He is a beneficiary of the same programme that Tahir is enrolled on, and he applied around 2 months earlier that him. Although the case of the friend is not at all any promise of success for Tahir, it somehow made me feel good. Number one, the guy, who got to Canada, really deserves it (he went through some really nasty stuff back home in Pakistan and here in Thailand), and number two, the case demonstrates that the system can work. Some reasons for optimism! Hurrah!!!

Then, finally I got a bit clearer what my plans will be for next two months. It appears that next week, I will be at the HEAT course (see the earlier post), and then will go for a short mission to southern part of Thailand to visit some of the refugee detention centres in Songhla Province. After a busy end of March, it is a holiday time in early April! The plans is that I am going to spend most of my time in Portugal, but also a day in Vienna of Austria, and some days here in Thailand (right before reporting back to work). In the middle of April, I will be deployed with a mission to Bangladesh again. I will be between Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar for a month. As you all know, I have a very soft spot for Bangladesh, and I love the country very much, so it all makes me quite happy.

Some busy time, filled with lots of travels ahead! Will be reporting and taking pictures. Hope you all have a good weekend, which is just about to start!

A refreshed designed of the website


I am experimenting with a slightly modified and refreshed design of the website. While I am getting it tested, there may be some glitches and issues. I will be trying to get them sorted soon. Please bear with me!

HEAT training


While I am still not sure whether I will actually be able to attend (due to lack of clarity whether I am going to be on an emergency mission next week, or not), I am preparing for one of the options that I may pursue next week, and that is a HEAT training, in the town of Hua Hin, west from Bangkok. Although the name can be misleading, it is not about climate change, or anything to do with the temperature… HEAT stands for Hostile Environment Awareness Training, and is designed for people working in places where there is a high prevalence of brutality relating to conflicts, or crime, or even natural disasters. I already participated in HEAT before, but it was a long time ago, and it is now necessary/obligatory for me to refresh it. I remember, last time during the training in the hills above the Lake of Naivasha in Kenya, together with a group of colleagues we actually got taken hostage/kidnapped violently (as a part of a learning experience). It felt very real, and it was scary, but also extremely helpful - especially the debriefing part of the experience. So, quite looking forward to experiencing how the trainers are going to challenge us this time around. That is, of course, if I make it to the training in Hua Hin at all.

Unpredictabilities in life


I definitely believe that we should take unpredictabilities of life as given, and accept them as they are. There is only as much as you can control, and it is okay, it is even a part of beauty of our existence. Last few weeks have been difficult though. A fact that we still wait for Tahir’s rubber-stamping of his application to resettle to Canada is a source of a major stress. Worrying about his future makes me feel uneasy about taking personal and professional decisions - as I am scared of spoiling it in the last phase of the application. I need to be ready to step up any assistance that may be required in his application at any time. Trouble is that we do not know when this can happen… 

Worrying about things that I can not change makes me stressed out about things that are far less important, and easy to deal with. I am for example confronted with a possibility of being deployed in emergency in Bangladesh. Decisions are however not taken, and there is a bit of unknown, where I am going to be next week, or month. Normally, I would not be that bothered with it, in fact, I actually enjoy this kind of lifestyle, where things change and things surprise you, but now this unknown makes me feel uneasy and worried. Perhaps it is ageing, or perhaps I am experiencing what a lot of people with dependants do? Perhaps I just worry about a well being of a person who, I know, is vulnerable and needs my support for some time to come? Whatever it is, I am feeling a bit miserable. 

There is some very good news too though! My trip to Tonga a few weeks ago seems to have resulted with some extra funds to the people affected by the devastating cyclone that hit the country. It is now official that we are supporting our support to the humanitarian response has gone up from €100K to €400K! This really makes me happy, as I am convinced that many communities in this small country do need some quick aid until the reconstruction programmes of the Government of Tonga will eventually reach the people. 

Perhaps, the news relating to our programmes in the Pacific should be a good lesson: it is better to focus on positives at hand, rather than at stressful unknowns that have a chance to turn out to be positive at the end.

As the night approaches in Bangkok, I would like to wish you all a very good week!

Shukhotai is magical


Just returned to Bangkok from an extended weekend in Shukhotai - an ancient city in central/northern part of Thailand. It seems like I may have discovered a place that could easily be described as magical. The old town is breathtaking. I am preparing a picture gallery for you to see soon. 

As I still have images of ancient temples in my mind, I am preparing for a busy week, a part of which will be a trip to Jakarta, where I am going to go on Wednesday. As I mentioned previously, I am going there to ponder about access to victims of humanitarian disasters in countries of Asia. More on this, right after I am ready with my meetings, at the end of the week.

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