Incomprehensible and crazy traffic, extreme pollution, wonderful colours, great food, and some of the friendlies people on the planet… I must be in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. I love being here, and re-descovering parts of the city, some familiar streets and places. It has been 10 years, since my last visit, but the city looks familiar. warm and friendly! I am glad to be back.
I am still in the hotel, as it is not yet clear where I will be staying in a longer run. This has got some advantages - I do not need to worry about some of the practicalities, when leaving in a flat alone, but then, I would like to start functioning ‘normally’ soon, so I am looking forward to having my own place sooner rather than later.
I am getting up-to-the-speed with the programmes and work. Very interesting briefings, but sadly, lots of horrific problems of poverty, marginalisation, human suffering. When I listen to issues that our projects are dealing with, I get uneasy and slightly discouraged, as there are so little solutions that we are able to offer. In any case, it seems like I will not be bored in here, and the job will be very interesting, even if surely, it will be depressing and challenging too.
I will be here until 11th December this time around. Then travelling back to Bangkok to do some work there, and… winter holidays will start. Together with Tahir, we will first visit some resorts in the southern part of Thailand, and afterward, I will fly to Poland to visit my family for Christmas. A busy December ahead of me.
So far, Tahir seems to be doing good on his own in Bangkok. I worry about him a bit, but there are no reasons really. He should be just fine, and hopefully by no time, we will see his departure out of Thailand, so that he can restart his own productive life. In the meanwhile, we will keep him busy with studies, and exercises at the gym. Tahir appears to enjoy his work out, so he has just joined one of the Bangkok’s gyms.
It seems like the prolonged rainy season in Thailand has come to its end. There are more sunny days now, and even if rain comes, it is not intense anymore. More sun brings more optimism sometimes, which I welcome, given all bad news that are coming from them world of politics.
So, I am off to Dhaka in Bangladesh this Tuesday. Also, I have just booked my tickets to go to Poland for this Christmas break. As far as I can recall, I have not been to Nowy Sacz for Christmas for 4 years. I am pleased that I will have a chance to visit my parents this winter though. Christmas celebrations at your parents’ place are somehow special!
Tahir’s resettlement application is already with the immigration office in Winnipeg. We have got some provisional indication that it would take around 12 months to get the answer. Should this be true, this is good news. 1 year is a long time, but then again, given that we have already waited for such a long time - it is not that bad, after all. We just need to hope that there will be no surprises and that we will be successful altogether. Also, in order to keep Tahir busy during his waiting time, we will try enrolling him for some courses that would allow him to quicker graduate from his high school education, when he eventually makes it to Canada. There are some online options, and now we need to explore those and see whether they are feasible for him.
Sadly, we are experiencing quite a lot of population displacement in western Myanmar. The ethnic misunderstandings result in localised fighting, which in turn causes lots of people to flee their homes. While most of the people are displaced within Myanmar, more and more flee to Bangladesh too. The fears are that this trend will only become worse in weeks to come. Clearly, this will keep me busy in the country.
I am guessing that my next post will already be written from Dhaka. While, I am a bit sad that I will be leaving Tahir behind for some weeks, I am equally excited of a chance to visit Bangladesh - one of the nicest countries that I have ever been to.
Mum is turning 70 today! She is the most amazing and wonderful woman of my life. I am proud of everything about her. I love you Mum! Happy Birthday!
Huma, Orla, Tahir and I had the most relaxing weekend in Rayong, at the eastern coast of Thailand. We went there to celebrate my birthday, but also to have spend some time together, before I depart to Dhaka in Bangladesh next week.
I am very excited to be going to Bangladesh soon. It is already 10 years since my last visit to the country. Both Bangladesh and the world around it has changed a lot. With raising extremism everywhere, I understand that there are more security risks there, but then, I am sure that the average people are as wonderfully sweet as the Bengali people can be. All in all, I am very excited to go, even if the mission will be difficult.
Still trying to cope with the new emerging world order that we are witnessing. Trump in the US, dramatic changes in the Philippines, tensions between Pakistan and India, the war in the Middle East, collapse of peace talks in Columbia, political instability in Ethiopia and elsewhere in eastern Africa are not optimistic. The crisis, whose consequences are likely to be catastrophic to all of us, is looming. I have been thinking of how the world is going to look like in a few years, and whether I will still be able to see it myself. And while, I have the gloomy feelings for short and medium term future, then it occurred to me that at the end of the day crises also offer opportunities. Yes, they may be painful, and extremely dramatic, but it also seems that humans are unable to avoid them. So, as we head towards problems, I just hope that the better world will emerge in the post-crisis reality. Clearly I hope that the changes that we are about to see will not be dramatic from the security perspective, but my mind is slowly coming to peace with an idea that we may be heading towards a very dangerous and bumpy ride as human race. I will just try to enjoy the present day as much as I can, and try to concentrate on small things that make me happy and act positively where I am able to do it. I feel that I need to do it for myself, and for the people around me, as I have started being far too negative, which is clearly not fair to anyone, myself included. So, my commitment is that I will worry less, and enjoy the small moments more.
Tomorrow is my mother’s birthday. She is turning 70! She is clearly the most wonderful woman that I know and I am so very happy to have this formidable lady as the person who made me the way I am. Thank you Mum! Thank you for who you are and for what you represent! Happy Birthday!
From my perspective, 2016 is probably the worst year in which I have lived in when it comes to humanism and humanitarian values. Renaissance of xenophobia, populism and frequently racism in so many parts of the world is putting us in grave dangers. The recent changes in Hungary, Poland, Austria, UK, Australia, the Philippines, Turkey, the USA are only the beginning. I am worried that 2017 will only be a continuation of bad news, which will subsequently lead us to the global conflict. We need to start looking at root causes of our unhappiness, we need to start be kinder to one another, let’s just give it a try, regardless of who we are, what we believe in. Let’s try avoiding our doomed destiny. It is still possible, if we all try a little harder.
I might be going to Bangladesh soon, but before that… comes a relaxing weekend in Rayong - a town at the Thai cost. The decision to go there was very spontaneous and happened during my birthday party. Some of us thought that it was definitely a good idea to go and enjoy the seaside. At it appears, we did not need to be convinced for too long. Two days later, the hotel and the car is booked, and Orla, Huma, Tahir and I are all set to go! We shall definitely share some pictures soon!
For those interested in work meant to alleviate humanitarian suffering of people, here comes an interesting site with some examples of humanitarian projects funded by the European Union.
However you look at it, I have turned 44! Crazy to realise that I am half way through in my forties. I still feel to be a child, a child of my parents at least!
November is filled with anniversaries for me. It is also a month of my name day, and more importantly a month of both birthday and name day of my mother. Lots of reasons to celebrate!
It is now official that on 22nd November, I will be travelling to Bangladesh for 3 weeks. I am excited to go there, as the projects that we run in the country are very interesting. Also, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Bangladesh. The place is so nice and the people are so friendly. Definitely looking forward to be going there. The arrangement is that I will be working between Bangladesh and Thailand for some months to come. While I will spend most of my time in Dhaka (and other locations in the country), I will also be visiting Bangkok once every month. This will allow me to catch up on my regional duties, and on the personal level to make sure that I visit Tahir regularly.
Writing of Tahir, we have some small reasons to celebrate. After lots of administrative work, and lots of convincing, we managed to submit his application for a resettlement visa to Canada. Now, we just need to keep our fingers crossed, and hope that we will receive some positive news from the Canadian authorities. This will take a while, but still excited with the progress.
We also managed to identify some lawyers in Australia, whom we approached to seek their help in re-submission of his application there. While waiting for the news from Canada, we will now be working on his new application to Australia.
It is still raining a lot here in Bangkok, but we are slowly approaching to the end of this year’s rainy season. Soon, it should become a bit dryer. December and January are some of the nicest parts of the year. It is not too hot yet, and it is dry… Looking forward to it!