Caravan of Mercy SSP Jan / Feb 2013 – Day 6

Fajr time… only had around two hours sleep… Day and night is confused with the travelling… Looking forward to tea, it’s been a long time since I have had tea often with such purpose… Coming out of our tin building and see people are already here… They are about 2 hours early or am I two hours late… not sure….. To the left is a concrete and tin roof mosque… First Saf is filled with the dulabhais, they are dressed and listening to taalim…. Emphasis is placed to give deeny knowledge to people receiving any help… it’s an opportunity to teach, this situation gets there attention… Moulana wants to ensure Islamic knowledge, Islamic importance, Islamic infrastructure is able to reach and continue for them…

I go for a bath, there is big bathroom with a water pump inside… Sajid is in his loonghi, soaped up having a bucket bath… Ronnie is next in line for a bath which is a water pump… next it’s me. Moulana Talha and Moulana Munshi are here running back and forth getting us some stove heated hot water to mix with the water pump water…there is a small roomed toilet…it has a string for a lock… this is all unusual to me but I’m no longer surprised…just got to deal with it….I have to put my loonghi on for the first time in my life, I have avoided it successfully up until now… but now it’s not avoidable.. This bathroom is a shared bathroom…..it’s pretty easy, but I don’t like it…

In this small courtyard… Moulana performs the nikah’s… Mufti Aziz gives a little talk in Bengali.. I feel the power of it even though I don’t understand it… makes me wonder; we have mufti’s all over the world, some are travelling all over the world spreading deen, some are travelling all over their country to different villages trying to spread deen but spending the same amount of time as one would travel all over the world.. The village Mufti’s are unknown to us… Allah knows them…

This time I try to get a better understanding of the dulabhais (grooms)… Myself and Moulana Zaharul ask 2 basic questions… how much they earn? and how many members in their family?… I know from an earlier conversation that a bag of 100kg rice feeds a family of family 6 for about a month, A bag of 100kg rice cost 3000 Takka’s they eat rice 3 times a day…

These are real people, working hard, no pride, full respect… we look forward to our dinner, we live to eat… they eat to live. I have seen the difference now… The earning average of the grooms is 4000 Takka’s with an average of 5 people in each family. We take a couple of pics… Each of us handing out the starter pack to a groom… more modest in our picture taking today… but still I feel bad… Marrying under these circumstances… your marriage is from charity… they don’t see it this way… but I see it and feel it as I have never been put in a position of needing charity… alhamdolillah… I just can’t understand how they do it… these are real people…

We go to the river bank for a spot of sightseeing… its lovely view…peaceful. You need to be here… I could walk for hours here… I’d like to set up camp here… so peaceful… no politics… dealing with politics between husband/wife, family, friends, or at work that pays me well, but not enough for my bought on debts, is my time consumed worries.. we work hard in the uk… but we are safe…

There is a clinic here for pregnant women….

This scenic river is around 300 feet wide… there are bunches of bamboo in the river.. we meet a local named Haneef, his home is a mud hut with tin roof…he works to survive, feed his family, his mother and father. His parents are living opposite separated by the open kitchen in the middle..he rents his house from the land owner… he had land before… three years ago… but his land got washed away… he shows where house use to be.it’s about 100 foot into the river…but his land is now has river flowing through it..the land touching the river is corroding each year and changing shape like like a trails of a travelling snakee.. the river is getting more and more into the land….. we see this along the river side, land about to break away, half of the foundation of previous homes still remain whilst the other half is the river..amazing but sad truth only because these people are poor and do not receive sufficient help otherwise it would just be amazing…..Haneef, after the floods can’t even go back to his normal life even if he wanted to build his house again..his land does not exist..there is no back for him, ‘back’ is a luxury for him.. he is forced to move on and make a new life with only what he sees around him..he can’t just escape…he can’t buy a plot of land…next year there may be him, his landowner and his neighbours looking for a new place to live if the river gets fatter or changes shape…. Haneef and his neighbours can never plan long term or go to ikea for shopping and think about the house furniture, plan for long term is not possible, but haneef is still smiling…….in one house house they have a rice beater,..no packaged good here…..

we pray Asar namaz in a local masjid and want to head back to Sirajgonj as soon as the hartal (strike) is over…it’s a 6 hour return journey back.. Looking for mamajee as he did we went for a bike ride on his own and before we left for sight seeing.. I get the mick taken out of again..he comes back just in time so luckily it does not not delay the caravan departure…me and sajid begin to have the same conversations about the driving….the driver is a nutcase..but he is a good driver…

The journey is ok.. we have a few stops having little cups of tea here and there..I think of them as ‘tablet tea’ purposeful and prescribed by me…one every two hours…

One of the stop we have a bhel pure type veg dish… leaves are used as spoons, newspapare for plates..reminds me how nothing goes to waste in these parts of the world.. We are trying to upload our previous day blog… it’s a struggle and Ronnie sorts it from Bangladesh, using tetherd internet from my mobile, blog site from his mobile using a 3g internet connection whilst travelling moving left to right, back and forth, up and down…

6-7 hours later..dinner time.. and moulana tell us his Albania story and how hospitable they are…Crash out to sleep..

tomorrow is travelling to kolkatta.. another 10-12 hour total journey time..I’m looking forward to the experience of crossing the border…

Sent from Samsung Galaxy Note

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