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Security & Criminality checks are still pending

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Today, two months have passed since Tahir’s security/criminality checks for the refugee resettlement to Canada started. While this process can last much, much longer and there is no reason to worry. Nevertheless, I somehow find it difficult to relax. I wish that this long roller-coster would finally finish. I worry about Tahir and his future, and wished so much that we received a positive final answer from the Canadian authorities soon. I guess the is to take a deep breath and be patient though… 

European Union’s humanitarian work in Bangladesh

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As I am in Bangladesh in a mission to help manage ECHO’s humanitarian projects in Bangladesh, I wanted to provide you with some basic information on our work in the country relating to helping the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. The information can be fond by visiting this link (please note that are additional links relating to Bangladesh in the provided article). 

In Dhaka

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Six months after, I am back to Bangladesh, and again dealing with issues relating to the humanitarian crisis caused by the exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar. I will be in the country for around 1 month, and will be operating between Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar. 

Going to Bangladesh: Refugees on my mind

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Holiday time is over, and I am gearing up with preparations of my trip to Bangladesh. While still in Bangkok, and spending some quality time with Tahir (making sure that he is fine for the duration of my visit to Bangladesh), I am doing readings of the latest reports from the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar region in Bangladesh. 

You may well remember that Bangladesh is home to around 1,000,000 Rohingya refugees, who keep on fleeing persecution from their home authorities. The Rohingya treatment by the Myanmar authorities is widely documented and presented by various international and local human rights groups/organisations - most of them accusing the Myanmar authorities for committing major crimes against humanity (in some cases, even accusing the authorities to being guilty of committing war crimes). 

Yet, the Rohingya in Bangladesh still suffer a lot. Despite a fact that the authorities of Bangladesh are trying to do what they can to help, having 1,000,000 people who are desperately poor, arriving to the country, which faces lots of issues relating to overcrowding and extreme poverty of its own residents, is overwhelming, to say the least. So the work of the humanitarian agencies working in the camps is still mainly focusing on trying to find solutions to help the refugees and the indigenous population of Bangladesh to simply survive. When I write ‘survive’ I genuinely mean it: it is about having access to water, food, basic health, basic sanitation… It is not yet about bringing comforts, we are really talking about bare necessities. 

Even if working in camps around Cox’s Bazar is often depressing, I love being there, and I truly enjoy working in Bangladesh. The misery that one witnesses in the camps also displays a different side of humanity: it shows how wonderful the humans can be to one another in desperate situations. Perhaps, from my perspective, it sounds arrogant to write (as I do have anything I may possibly need to lead a comfortable life), but seeing people sacrificing themselves to support one another, gives hope that we are still capable of being kind to one another, even in an environment that is seemingly hopeless. So, as I am a bit scared of what I am about to experience in Bangladesh. I am full of hope and enthusiasm too. 

As usual, I will write about what I experience soon. Until this happens, sending to all of you my sincere regards!

Writing from Óbidos: my new base in Portugal

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I have already been to my new home in Óbidos over a week. Time flies, especially, when one enjoys oneself a great deal. I am having a wonderful time here. Started arranging the house where I live, and organising my life ‘more permanently’, that is as ‘permanently’ as it is possible in my case. 

The week here has been filled up with hundreds of reflections and sighs such as: ‘oh gosh, this is such a beautiful place’, or ‘my goodness, I can’t believe that I am that lucky to be able to call this place my home’, or ‘I love Portugal’, and so on and so forth… Goes without saying that I am really happy to have made this country my base. The people here are really friendly, it is spectacularly beautiful, peaceful and comfortable in the same time. There are hardly any criticism that I can think of at the moment. Portugal really seems to be working for me. 

Except shopping for furniture and items that I need to make my life comfortable in my new place, I have made sure to spend time walking and driving around my neighbourhood and vicinities around Óbidos. The town itself is just spectacular, but all villages and smaller municipalities are all gems - very often undiscovered by large scale tourism, and thus retaining lots of old and traditional charm. It is difficult to put in words how beautiful the area is, so I thought that I would encourage you to visit this gallery with my pictures, so that you can have a little taste of central-western part of Portugal. 

But all what is good needs to finish. I am now slowly preparing to go back to Thailand and then off to Bangladesh soon after. Despite loving it here, I am looking forward to be meeting Tahir soon, and checking on how he is doing there. I am already travelling on Friday, so I guess that my next update will already be written in Asia.

Packing for Portugal

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After a very relaxing Easter weekend in Rayong, I am packing to travel to Obidos. Tonight, travelling to Vienna, and then Lisbon. I should be reaching home in Obidos very early on 4th April. 

Look forward to Portugal very much, however short the trip there is going to be. There will be pictures and reports, so keep following!

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