Trip Start Mar 03, 2005
80Trip End Apr 08, 2006
After a brief sleep in (my first in quite a while) I woke to my first morning in the CRP compound. CRP is the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed and my friend Cristy was on a two year posting as a speech therapist there. After chatting over a much needed coffee (my first in almost a week) we went down to the CRP open day, just a two minute walk away. Here I saw a number of stalls put on by the different departments within CRP and was introduced to a lot of people! Later on we ventured outside the compound where we were instantly ushered into a shop by one of Gavin's friends for a cup of tea, just as we had been the previous day at the New Martket. The thing I never quite understood was why everyone who offered us tea never had a cup themselves!
After dinner we (being the foreigners) got together for a game of "Mafia". This was a kind of role play game involving a narrator, a member of the mafia (who commits a murder), a medic (who saves a life), a detective (who suspects someone) and a number of civilians. Once I got into it I found it a lot of fun. The only rules to the game were that the detective and medic couldn't lie, however the mafia obviously could! After a few games we called it an evening.
Saturday February 18th
For the most part today was a very relaxing day where I caught up on everything I needed to do. The morning was spent getting up to date with my diary which took quite a while considering everything I'd done in Bangladesh to that point! After a big lunch in Cristy's apartment I tried on two occasions during the afternoon to access the internet but the one place near the compound was closed. By this stage I'd resigned to the fact I wouldn't find a decent connection in the country, somewhat disheartening after I'd got my hopes up upon leaving Burma.
Later on, Cristy, Gav and I ventured out to the Savar Bazar. It was a very intense place and I didn't like it all that much. It smelled, was very dirty and there were just too many people for my liking. In fact I think it was even more hectic than the New Market in Dhaka. I had another ordinary vegetable meal for dinner, and by this stage I was starting to get somewhat frustrated with the lack of cuisine. Mind you, beggars can't be choosers in this part of the world, and at least I had the luxury of a vegetarian meal rather than be forced to eat meat or nothing else.
Sunday February 19th
I woke feeling quite ill in the stomach which wasn't a good start to the day. The morning was quite productive though, as I managed to spend a little time on the internet (super slow) and get a haircut, which was an experience in itself! My young barber attracted a lot of attention by cutting the celebrity foreigner's hair!
After lunch Cristy showed me around the CRP compound which I found really interesting. I saw the different wards, training centres and workshops and learnt quite a lot, especially about occupational therapy which is something I knew virtually nothing about. It was great to see that such amazing work was being done in such a poor and corrupt country.
Later that evening we played the "Name game". The premise was simple enough, to begin with the eight of us wrote down eight names and put them in one basket. In the first round each person had one minute to try and describe the person whose name they selected to their partner. In the second round only one word could be used, and in the final round only actions. It was a lot of fun, and I was impressed that alcohol wasn't the only means of entertainment here, like it was for so many expats I knew in Cambodia!
Monday February 20th
I felt a little better than the previous morning when I woke, and joined Cristy and Gavin for breakfast. The next few hours were spent relaxing, writing in my diary and reading my book before the others joined us for lunch. It was then time to say goodbye. Cristy and Gavin had been really hospitable and friendly and I enjoyed the time I spent with them. I felt somewhat revitalised after an intense month and week in Burma and Dhaka. However, it was time to see some of the countryside, and that evening I was meeting Mahmud in Dhaka so we could get an overnight ferry to his family home in Barisal.