I have arrived in Dhaka after a very long journey which started at 1845 yesterday and didn’t end until 7pm today, Bangladesh time.
The first thing that struck me as I left the airport was the heat, and even more so the humidity. It’s intensified by the air conditioning in the airport and even more so by the much better air conditioning in the car.
The journey from the airport to the VSO flat that I am staying at tonight was what could be politely described as “an experience”. There seems to be one rule, and tht is you should assume that everyone else on the road is out to kill you. No one stuck to the lanes, no one gives way and pedestrians and rickshaw drivers show no interest in their own safety. Our driver seemed to be in a great hurry to get me here and spent most of the journey 2 inches from the vehicle in front flashing his lights to tell them to get out of the way or driving straight over a junction without looking. Mind you, he was by no means the only one!
I’ve already had the chance to meet some other VSO volunteers who are staying in the flat from Kenya, Canada and the Philipines. I’ve heard their frustrations about the slow pace of change, but also about their enthusiam for what they are doing and how committed they are to see some tangible improvements to the lives of the people they are working with.
I’ve also experienced my first power cut and cooking by candlelight. Fortunately this was after the others had arrived. I would have struggled to find the candles in the pitch dark.
Tomorrrow morning I get to meet the team in charge here in Bangladesh and then an 8 hour trip to Khulna. One thing is for sure – it’s not going to be dull!