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Showing posts from January, 2008

Presentation...

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Get Up...

I'm not sure if it's the frail old women trying in vain to cross the street...

It could be the children who lead their blind fathers, brothers, uncles between traffic jams, begging for money...

It could be the tiny children roaming the streets with a cement bag filled with plastic on their backs, looking to fill it even more...

It could be the family that lives across the street from my office... not in a house, not in an apartment, but in a poorly constructed tin shed on an empty, weed-infested block no bigger than the average bathroom... right across from Habitat for Humanity, anyone think our job is done yet?

It could be the little kid I play with on my way to coaching every now and again... he's too shy to speak to me, but the little giggles let me know that for those brief moments, he's having fun instead of dodging cars and trucks and rickshaws while scampering across Gulshan Avenue, trying to hustle money out of foreigners...

It could be figures I deal with every day…

They Can't Tell Me...

Things you can't tell me:

1   It can't be done.
2   You can't do it.
3   You won't be able to.
4   Don't bother trying.
5   That's too hard.

See a pattern emerging?

My patience is wearing thin.  I have a fantastic team though, who have responded much better than even I initially gave them credit for.

At least there are still people around who aren't intimidated by a little hard work...

Blogged with Flock

Rain...

We had 3 days of blissful rain...
The air cleared a little, breathing was no longer a chore, even that thin, black layer of smog and sweat and stench that seems ever-present didn't feel as suffocating as usual.  Shouldn't last long...
What little heat we had this last month has disappeared as well; my colleagues are having difficulty dealing with 4 consecutive days of 20 degree Celsius weather...
The deeper I delve into this job, the more I cast an eye to the future... I long ago stopped worrying about what is to come, however I can't help but try to anticipate what is coming next...
That's the extent of randomness I'm allowing myself this morning, there are far too many things to do...
I had a big win last night; a major local organization is going to partner with us for our disaster response; the coup comes from the fact that they are best placed to help us reach our goal of building within Dhaka, a previously impossible task.
Hard to believe I've already been her…

Priorities...

As the work continues to increase, the blog posts lessen...

I've been thinking a lot about priorities recently; about my own, my organisation's, those of the country in which I now live, my "home" country... What is it that we value most, what do we place importance on, where do we expend most of our energy, place our focus, give our attention?

Do I/We have a clear purpose or goal?  Or do we wander aimlessly...

In Bangladesh there is currently no official Government... though Independence was gained largely on the back of a populist movement supporting the linguistic and cultural differences of the country compared to the rest of the region, there has been little to no signs of transferring this national pride into sustainable leadership and growth.

Corruption is still rampant, although much more difficult to work with as the caretaker Government's crackdowns on illegal activities have simply blurred the lines of who needs to be paid in order to get things done...

Ric…

Visa Troubles...

Dr King's 1964 Nobel Prize Speech...

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Had to throw this on here...

"  Modern man has brought this whole world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future. He has reached new and astonishing peaks of scientific success. He has produced machines that think and instruments that peer into the unfathomable ranges of interstellar space. He has built gigantic bridges to span the seas and gargantuan buildings to kiss the skies. His airplanes and spaceships have dwarfed distance, placed time in chains, and carved highways through the stratosphere. This is a dazzling picture of modern man's scientific and technological progress. Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and sw…

1 Thousand Words...

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Bhuapur Trip...

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On Friday I took 10 bideshis (foreigners) out to our Flood Response Project in Bhuapur, Tangail, to see how our programs work...










My Office, 3 Thousand Words...

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Cyclone Sidr Report...

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This story was published internally. Not my best work, by far, nevertheless...

On the 15th of November, 2007, Bangladesh became the centre of the world’s attention, if only briefly, as Cyclone Sidr, with winds of up to 150 mph, swept through the poorest areas of the poorest country in the world.This has been a devastating year for Bangladesh.Two major floods, only a few months apart, had crippled much of the country’s precious agricultural resources.Homes had been damaged and destroyed, villagers displaced, lives lost.Land, cattle, belongings, security had been stripped from those who could least afford it.On the 24th of November, Habitat for Humanity International – Bangladesh dispatched an Assessment Team to Patuakhali District, one of the worst affected, in order to determine the possible responses and partnerships which could take place.The impact of the cyclone was clear; houses either overturned or completely destroyed, rickshaws trampled as if made from cardboard, branches and …

TGI... Thursday?

Another Thursday, another week gone...

Seems as though every week tries to outdo the previous, as if someone is keeping score.  It's been quite a big week for my department; we have had several successes which have in turn resulted in more successes...

Tomorrow I take a group of interested parties to our flood-relief project in Tangail, about 2 hours north-west of Dhaka.  I have arranged for one of the project managers to provide some information regarding both the overall concept of the project, as well some specific logistical information, such as the design of the houses, and why that is important.

It should be a good opportunity to indulge in some photography... yes I have been remiss lately, I apologize...  and yes I know I wrote "apologize", not "apologise"...

Next week is shaping up to be quite busy again... I will be in the field for 5 days, involved in monitoring and evaluation of our programs.

This Saturday is the tenth day of Muharram, Muharram being the…

Running some more...

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Running...

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Pictures from the Hash Run, courtesy of Jeremy.

City limits in the background. Most of the run was on sand. Not quite sure why there was so much sand everywhere...









Taken at the beginning of the run... obviously I take my running very seriously...

Talk about Representation, I'm repping the Spurs and the Glaciers... those shorts have been all over the world...





Jeremy and I at the post-Hash recovery session.

Weekend...

I need a vacation to recover from the weekend...

Thursday was a hard day at the office.  I know, I know, what else is new.  Between the workload and the deadlines, I was really looking forward to getting home and relaxing, imagining myself spending the weekend laid out on my bed, watching Fawlty Towers DVDs...

Luckily my weekend wasn't quite as boring as that.

On Thursday night my room-mates, neighbors and I headed to the Australian Club.  The club is essentially a bar, tennis court and pool out the back of the Australian High Commission, where expatriates get together in a social atmosphere.  I had been a couple of times before, and wasn't overly impressed or enthused enough to be looking forward to this particular visit...

We sat, chatted, had dinner, drank a few beers, nothing especially exciting...  and then the High Commissioner showed up, just as our group were the last ones in the club.  For some reason we all kicked into overdrive, and the night ended back at our apartment…

Seeing it for the first time...

It's frustrating.

It's frustrating to have to face the same challenges for every project, every decision, every idea.

The first few times it was amusing; perhaps that's not quite the right way to describe it, but nevertheless it didn't inspire the same sense of frustration it does now.

I wish I could go into detail, however corporate privacy and all... not that it seems to matter much in Bangladesh, in the words of my Supervisor there is no such thing as "copyright" or "security" here...

My mother tells me to stop being a wuss and get more creative.  Infuriatingly, she's right.

When your game plan stops working, you have to change it.

So here I am drawing up a new game plan.  Again.

I just have to concentrate on seeing the situation again for the first time, so as not to let the frustrations overwhelm my concentration.

I met up with quite a few locals last night for a couple games of ball.  Add that to the list of surreal experiences in Bangladesh; 15 l…

All about Jeremy...

I have a roommate named Jeremy.

He is a Melbournian, passionate about Aussie Rules Football, a patriot and an all-round good guy.  He enjoys running, which I admit is a cause for concern, and continues to pound the pavement, or dirt rather, surrounding our city.

He loves his Bollywood videos and Indian food, and I suspect is a shoe-in for a movie sometime in the future.

I mention Jeremy because I appear to have neglected to mention my roomates in previous posts, a fact brought to my attention my Jeremy himself.

Having said that, I suppose I must also mention Aara, my other roomate.  If Jeremy is the conservative of the household, (which is a complete misnomer but will suffice for the purposes of this conversation), then Aara is the hippy, or as Jeremy puts it, the Communist.

In truth both are very caring, passionate, aware people, who though are polar opposites to each other, and quite different in personality to me, are somehow perfectly compatible to share a house together.

They are both …

And so it begins again...

Day 2 of Working in Bangladesh 2008... and already the workload is immense...

I like to think of myself as an organised person, so why do I constantly find myself being pushed onto the back foot? Between trying to organise my day, pay the household rent, and enrol online, this has become the most stressful day this year... yes I know there have only been 7 days this year, but I stand by my claim.

On another note, I miss my family. The 12 days I had in Texas were the best 12 days of 2007...

It's a new year...

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I'm back in Bangladesh after 12 days spent with my family in the US... glad to have gone, glad to be back, glad to get to work... although I should have brought more food from the States back with me.

Much more.


Lost Maples National Park in Texas.












Apartment in the building I pretty much grew up in, San Antonio, Texas.











Lost Maples National Park.