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Showing posts from December, 2007

Coming Home...

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My flight leaves in 9 hours. I'm headed back to "civilisation"... make of that word what you will.

It's getting harder to hide my anticipation; spending time with my family is certainly rare enough as it is, but this year feels special somehow...

I feel like I say this every year, but it's been tough. We lost my Grandmother, I graduated (finally), I grew up... well, a little at least.

I know the new year has much in store, but that doesn't worry me. Actually, in many ways it is quite reassuring to be able to see what awaits around the corner, rather than spend time worrying about it.

Our target budget for this financial year has increased yet again, three times in three months for those of you keeping score at home, so I will be working while on my Christmas break. There's the website to retool and update, 3 grants to apply for, 2 urban projects to write proposals for, a new contact list of over 60 names to contact, 7 NGOs to approach for partnership plans, 2…

Yuletide Ramblings...

I've been in Bangladesh for nearly three months. Glad that I'm here, be glad when I go home.

I keep getting asked whether this experience has changed me, whether everything is as I expected, or whether I've been thrown off my feet...

Truthfully, it hasn't changed me at all... it has however given me renewed focus regarding where I want to be in life, what I want to do with that life, and to some extent where I want to lead that life.

I presented at a fundraising dinner held for Habitat a couple of days ago. During the evening I met a gentleman who had led quite an eclectic life; his interests were as diverse as they were numerous, and he had to some extent or another followed everypath he could. What struck me was his statement that at this point in his life, all the skills he had picked over time all seemed to fit in with what he was doing now, as if the paths he had taken weren't so random after all.

That's a reassuring thought.

It's been another busy coupl…

Small Victories...

The new website is up. Click here to check it out. Any feedback would be helpful; I know it's not great but since it's only my 2nd site I could sure use some ideas.

It's only been up for 1 day, and already I've had queries to both volunteer and sponsor houses.

It's been a productive day both in terms of securing funding and establishing contacts.

On a random note, the building owner here has bought 3 deer.

Deer.

As in Bambi.

We are in the middle of the city, surrounded by apartment building packed in close together, like branches in a rainforest fighting it out for space. Each square foot is so packed with people that you can almost see air move as it rushes to fill the gaps that miraculously appear between sweaty, congestion-stained bodies.

And yet there are 3 deer in the middle of all this.

3 deer. I keep saying but I still can't believe it...

More Ramblings...

It's another late night at the office... I've had 5 hours of sleep in the last 2 nights... not unusual for me, I suppose, though I wonder if that's something to be worried about...

We are all trying to wrap things up in the next couple of weeks before the office shuts down for Christmas... I can't believe it's that time of year again... feels great... so of course the workload has increased significantly, which came as quite a surprise because I had myself believing I couldn't work any harder if I wanted to...

I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I want to head home, so here's a quick update;

It's hot.

I'm surprised I have to explain why I'm fasting to everyone around me... Ramadan wasn't that long ago, how can people forget the concept of fasting so quickly?

The number of people in Dhaka has increased in the last 2 weeks. No-one has any idea why.

Elections are still planned for next year. As of today there are 0 candidates. That's right, I …

Eyes...

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One of my pictures is being used as our calendar for 2008. They will be up for sale through our website, which I am developing at the moment.

Here is a low-res version of the calendar. The picture has been posted here before, in better quality.

There is quite a buzz around the office today. The marketing campaign I created has completed its mini-trial, to much success. We are now preparing to implement it nationally. I have a meeting with a national celebrity on Sunday to finalise details. The official launch will be in 2 weeks, which will in turn be 2 days before I leave for Texas.

I've had quite a few comments about this picture, so it may be appropriate to give the background story. I met this man in Mirzaganj, in the District of Patuakhali. This area was severely damaged by Cyclone Sidr; houses blown over, crops destroyed, livestock killed, belongings swept away by the tidal surges. I had been trekking through villages while the other 2 members of my team were sitting and talking…

Musings...

I have my Nepal/Tibet trip booked.

It’s not until April 2008… keen, I know, but the prices are obviously better the earlier you book.

My uncle H will be joining me. It feels great to write that. We have been talking about trekking around Everest for as long as I can remember. I used to wonder if it would ever happen, if we were just dreaming, just hoping. Maybe we were. Yet here I am, 4 months away from my dream trip, wallet several pounds lighter but somehow more at peace.

We will be taking in many great sights, trekking to Everest Base Camp, heading through Lhasa, the Dalai Lama's former home, and visiting many monastaries, villages and lookouts along the way. In the immortal words of the Fresh Prince, "That's what I'm talking 'bout!".

It’s been a hard couple of weeks; it’s nice to have something like this to look forward to.

Speaking of looking forward, in 15 days I head back to Texas. I’m a proud Australian, I love my country, I love all its idiosyncras…

A Story of A Cyclone...

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Ramblings on hate...

There’s seemingly no end to disdain.

There’s seemingly no end to hate.

There’s seemingly no end to lack of understanding.

There’s no end to just how far people will go to avoid knowing. To avoid seeing. To avoid hearing. To avoid understanding.

It gives us comfort to hate. It gives us an outlet, an escape from what we have, what we face, what are forced to deal with every day.

It allows us the luxury to believe there is a simple solution to all that ails us. The problems are simple; it is the object of our hatred that is the cause, the root, the constant source of our pains and suffering.

To hate is to love; to love to hate. To truly hate requires passion. It requires an awareness. It requires focus and consistency. It is a falsehood to assume that hate comes from a lack of intelligence; true hate starts within great minds left unfulfilled, unchallenged, unenthused.

Hate is simple. Hate is powerful. Hate unites and conquers far quicker and far easier than anything else.

Most of all…

8,000 words...

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Hold its own...

I want to fix this.

I want to eradicate all poverty. I want to house every family.
I want to feed every village. I want to provide a safe environment for every child. I want to ensure safe drinking water is available for all.
It's very easy to be overwhelmed by the scope of the problems faced by this country. I consider myself a pragmatist as well as an idealist, and as such never entertained the possibility that my "wants" were at any time true goals to aspire to. Yet, even as a pragmatist, even drawing upon previous experience, even believing to have prepared myself for the inevitable frustrations that would arise, I still go through periods of unreasonableness, of frustrations I know to be irrelevant and yet cannot curb.
I find myself constantly, and quietly, questioning, doubting, criticising the international communitiy's plans and responses to Bangladesh's problems.
The reality is, of course, that I am a nobody in the world of International Development. My practica…