(Bangla) Friends Reunited

Having just returned from a whirlwind summer of travel, I'm once again reminded how indebted I am to so many long-standing and new friends for their generous hospitality.  On the most recent trip this ranges from Ger and Jackie in Ireland to Jose in Washington DC and all the folks in Virginia, to Jay and Charles and Ravi, Valeria and Marla in California and to Guillermo and Dick in Vermont... And the many others who have visited and, very importantly, shared in Simon's 4th birthday!Of course, there are hundreds of others from Bangladesh - most of them mentioned here on the blog or forever remembered in the pages of A Blonde Bengali Wife - to Tanzania to New Zealand and everywhere in between that are unsung yet treasured.I can only hope that somehow and someday I manage to pay as many of you back as I can...Readers of my Bangla musings will have heard...
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Freda Runs For Bhola

Writing from sunny California, with a new cluster of people to excite/bore about Bangladesh, I've realised I'm always quite vague about where the island of Bhola actually lies - saying 'right down in the Bay of Bengal' means something to those who know the geography of SE Asia, but there are a lot of us who remain very geographically-challenged!  So here it is:The circle shows the position of Bhola's Children, the island on which it is sits is - Bhola.Our newest Trustee to make the journey is Freda Graf, and Freda is about to undertake a sponsored run (no, not actually to Bangladesh!) to help with the continuous fundraising drive.  I'm attaching the link to the official Bhola's Children website here, first, in case you'd like to support Freda, and secondly because it's a re-vamped website that's well worth a look if you haven't been there recently.And finally... if anyone has any...
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The Road to Srimangal

This month I've been thinking about fact and fiction, and especially about the point at which they merge; when something that has happened to you, the writer, is turned - by you or someone else - into a story.  The programme for the first of my Community Education classes has been 'Writing for Life', which has taken us through writing as a hobby to writing as reflection to writing as therapy... and all points in between.  It has created a lot of very personal writing that has had all the greater resonance because of that, and has highlighted a significant difference between writing the story and telling the story.  Maybe it is easier to control the writing, maybe because it is done in isolation, but once in front of an audience, there is an emotional charge that affects both the writer - and the 'hearer' - and it's a challenge for both.  A very powerful experience.This term culminated in...
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Reflections on Bhola

'm bending a self-imposed rule this month and writing more than a couple of paragraphs... stringent self-editing has fallen by the wayside in trying to report everything that happened last month in Bangladesh!We arrived in Bhola early on the morning of the 9th April.  At this stage, it’s a homecoming for me as I’ve been to Bangladesh a dozen times; Simon at 3-and-a half is on his second visit, and for Allan, a fundraiser and supporter, also from Scotland, it was his first time in SE Asia. After the thrill of a ride in our new auto-rickshaw, the children, armed with Bangla flags and bright flowers, were on hand to greet us – a wonderful, warm welcome for all three of us, but clearly Simon was the one they were waiting for… He had a fantastic time playing with the ‘big boys’ and was using sign language in no time; it took...
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Bhola, Bangladesh - April 2014

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then let the pictures speak!The long-awaited trip back to Bangladesh seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye: Dhaka, Bhola, Srimangal... here are just a handful of the very many highlights...Hot off the plane(s) in Dhaka, and Ali secures us our rickshaw chariot Arriving in Bhola by overnight launch ï»¿The new tractor-trailer - carrying 32 of us altogether 38 degrees but work to build the new road goes onShopping...Cooking - but mainline gas has arrived! Picnic breakfast for Bangla New YearAllan leads the exercises...Sunset on BholaAllan took the photos, Simon fitted in as if he'd never been away, and Bhola's children, staff Ali were as fabulous as only they can be.  More about what we did and how the home and school are progressing next time.Thanks to everyone who's supporting us (and anyone who has any exciting fundraising ideas - please let me know!)Anne x 
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