Caravan of Mercy SSP Jan / Feb 2013 – Day 3

Journey was long yesterday..we had a comfortable van..that helped. We stopped over in sylhet for a dawat from a contact of moulana. They went all out, to the extent that moulana noticed there was no fish on the dustarkan! (fish is always on the menu) A can of coke, bananas, yoghurt desert and tissues nicely folded in each glass, . We appreciated it. We arrived in Dhaka at sunrise prayed Fajar and crashed out… We woke at noon, had enough sleep. Today is a day off. Not for moulana and his direct team. They are connecting up the dots in their accounts and getting it formalised. Teaching the locals the need and method of accountability. We are taking a tour of Dhaka and guide is moulana katakut…gangster name…funny guy… He shows us the parliament and other ministerial buildings.. Takes us to the central mosque. It is a grand mosque..we pray asar there..feels good to pray in jamaat here. We then took a stroll in the neighbouring market which is also adjoining to the national stadium.. We find a stall selling a fruit we’ve never seen before, after much dliberation with mamajee and the seller we conclude that these are over riped coconuts which have formed into a sponge, nothin goes to waste here….tastes like coconut flavoured wafers..really nice.. Was a first even for Sajid who is in the business of importing fruits and vegatables. In a short walk we also have peanuts, guava, chana,chikoo, boor and some hardened jelly thing.. We saw an entrance to the stadium but got warded off by security saying there is a domestic league game on so no one is allowed. Ronnie (Yusuf) waved his big camera and we told them we are doing a documentary on Dhaka and we were in..you don’t need a Ferrari to open doors here.. The gate was media only and we were surrounded by other broadcasters recording the football match, we took a couple of pics of the mostly empty stadium. Next tourist visit was to main markaz HQ (Khakrel) … It looked relatively busy.. My Mamajee was curious to this place. It’s his first visit here. My first tabligh outing was twenty years ago, it instilled a lot of core principles which shaped me to this day, i heard about the simplicity of this place then and twenty years later i am here to say its more simple then i envisaged. I no longer seemed a foreigner..except for my clothing.. People here from all over the world, i begin to stare at the foreigners in almost the same way the locals have been staring at us. People i know from london who have been 4 months jamat have been through here. Started remembering Riaz Tai, the Ibrahims, Abu, Yunus, Ishmael, Yunus Bhai and YB. We prayed magrib here. My mamagee is suprised to see the mix of people and starts asking people where they are from… He tells me this place is international… He begins to say salaam to everyone…Ronnie gets queried in markaz for wearing jeans and t shirt.. Me and saleh bhai continue talking about the simplicity of this place.. Moulana Talha, a local caravan of mercy member, starts to tell me he will go back Home after we leave..he just got of the phone from his wife i think as he started the conversation. i think his wife is missing him.. I told him go Home if he is missing his wife..he says how can he go Home when he has such big guests referring to us..i tell him we are not guests, we have flown all the way here to meet him, he is the the big person not us…I’m getting good at this ‘bigging’ up conversation..it seems every conversation involves the setting of making yourself seem low and the other person of great respect..to ensure pride is removed, be humble, in conversations..Moulana Talha is humble… Pride is something that’s only owned by allah..we can not have it and i think that is why every conversation has the pre-requisuit of a humbling sentence.. We get back to the hotel, i mean markaz..it has good facilities and seems like a hotel with the treatment we receive…there is a dead body being loaded into the markaz ambulance..but all seems pretty normal.. Moulana is still connecting the dots with his ground team. Mamajee is requesting that ronnie teaches him tajweed. So they do.. I receive a watsapps message, someones tells me to choose an orphan to sponsor…i mention shajalal..need to speak to moulana about this . we go downstairs for some fresh air and a new load of funeral boxes are delivered. This place is too real.ironically i start thinking, i appreciate my glazed life in london. We go for a walk..sajid bhai yells at a driver to stop, its a red light! He mentions they think differenty here, he is right they do, we think differently to them, we think differently to each other. If we think they dont think normally and normal is based on the majority then it us that are not normal for there are more people in the east then there are in the west. Four of us take a rickshaw ride to the Sat (7) Gumbad (Dome) Masjid, a 400 year old Moghul style mosque. There is also a school behind it hosting 1300 students! It’s past midnight and it’s closed. We get back on our waiting cycle rickshaws and head back. This approx 3-4km trip has cost us 70 pence for both rickshaws…….! Time to sleep as we have a long journey ahead and an early start, leaving straight after fajr for Sirajgonj where we are expected to begin distribution as we arrive…. Inshallah

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