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 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 seems every conversation involves the setting of making yourself seem low and the other person of great 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 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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Caravan of Mercy SSP Jan / Feb 2013 – Day 2

Today was a long and filled day. Food prepping for the nikahs started early..Biryani was is cold. My feet are cold. Did not bring any socks. Only got champels.. The kids are doing more for us then we are for them..shahjalal is one of those kids, a humble kid, who does everything from tea making to setting and cleaning our dustarkan. he cuts the cocunut and bringz usfresh juice in a glass.i offer itto him but he refuses in a manner that tells “how can i drink fresh juice when you are our guest”..he is insistent and does not drinks so i finish it.. Its wicked and sweet. Moulana had also organised fir the madressa to be extended to include toilets as kids currently have to go in the field. He dug the boundary point kicking off this extension work…we all took turn in doing a couple of digs.. It feels good to be witness of a defining moment in the building work.. However each smile, each conversation with the poor or orphan can be a defining moment for us on the day of judgement with their duas being accepted by the mercy of allah.. the kids continue to do kidmat and i wonder who is looking after who… they definateky have eaten less than me and spent more energy than me…they have so much energy and the whole day just seems like it’s still morning for them… The grooms clothes provided for their special day. they all looked serious, maybe they cant wait to get home to their wives..they must wannt punch the guy on stage hogging the mic and making them wait..everyone wanted to have a go on the mic, ronnie and saleh bhai seemed to be struggling to stay awake on the stage, we weree being recorded for national tv….finally Moulana provided them with some talk, letting them know increase your imaan thru effort..if you shout children then your wife won’t shoot out children..effort must be made..everyone got the point. the grooms all looked Peng,a recently new word that i discovered in London. If my my cousin riz and firoz were here then they definatly would have pissed themselves laughing on the fashion . A groom with a pink hat, burgundy shalwar, black matrix shades and a blue coloured converse style shoes.if.all items individually on a shelf might have a slim chance of looking good but togrther, letz just say you definaty you knew he was a groom. We then have discussion adjacent to the mdressa where moulana is speaking to some diggers to set the foundstion of a new mosque able to accomodate 600 musallees. The exact qibla direction being worked out using ronnie’s iphone, we lined up in a saf so moulana can count and work out the width required for this masjid, the land is donated by mufti aziz of muslimpoor, the masjid cost is donated by a member of our travelling group, brother sajid of leicester. May allah grant them jannah. The mosque will be called majid siddique. We speaking to shajalal, kidmat kid, and ronnie says to shahjalal insha allah you will be the imam of this mosque and shahjalal aged no more than 14 says ameen and insha allah with conviction. not like the way i say it when tablighi gusht come round my house. We walked 15 minutes to the river bank where the 30 boats allocated for distribution lined up wjth their new owners. These simple boats are for the poor. The people who already use this type of boats to feed their families are elgible for sadqah or zakat anyway but these are people who cant even afford these boats, and guess what i dont think they are the poorest, i dont think the caravan has reached that far yet. Another quick photo shoot. People will be able to see their donations delivered, a satisfaction to us and for people wbo give, their donations hand and recorded delivered. Some ofthese will ridet heir boat home,about 30 to 40km away we walked back to the madressa, im geting the mick taken out off from the brothers because my mamagee (my wife’s uncle) is taking ssssppppecial care of me. He is deinately printing his character in,thd group. A funny and caring character.. We reached the madressa and moulana gets bombarded with bangla tv channels. An amazing speech all from quran and sunnah…Moulana does ikraam with the bangla tv limelight and introduces me as the groom of bangladesh from a village called chittamongol which we invented on our way in. Next, the ditribution of wedding ‘starter pack’ : some ,clothes, cutlery, cooking utensils and bedding for each newly wed. They each come and take and we continue to take photos like we are something special..may allah keep us grounded and give sincerery in our actions..please make dua..its so easy to be engulfed in giving and forgetting that we are actually giving bedding and utensils!!..we are not giving things that are famikiar to us as gifts for weddings… i ignore another reality check opportunity, it comes easy to me. Please Make dua that it stops.. Its time to pack and depart this poor place filled with lovely people, in total 230 itrms were donated, whether it was starter pack, boat, bike or something else. Lots of smiles.. Time to move on. So free that i can ‘move on’ . Depart as easy as i arrived. shajalal has been following me. He is sad we are departing. He is yateem. He looks up to us. I turn my back on him and easily depart, he will contine to be yateem. …in a couple of weeks he will be no more than a distant memory for me. For him we wont. He’ll remeber me. I hope he does. Especially when he makes dua. I need it. Next stop il make sure ill introduce myself to every orphan multiple times. motor biking back now.. the same view…looks amazing…the land gets filled with water so much so that the floor and sky look as one,as described by a local to me… ive done about a kilometre and i see my dhulabhais (brother in law in bangali, decided to call all the grooms dulabhais) walking and carrying his starter pack with his family members…and then i see another dulahbhai…i think we have almost done 5 kilomertres and i see another dulabhai walking with his starter pack. i did not even walk 50metres in total on my wedding day. Not sure how his first night is going to go after that walk! I spoke to moulana and people come from as far as 30km by foot and boat for nikah and starter pack.. The local moulana aziz’s worry and concern reaches far. Well we on our way to dhaka, My mamajee bought me socks so my feet stay warm…We had some freshly made jalebies and our driver is a nutcase.. The caravan contiues…

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Caravan of Mercy SSP Jan / Feb 2013 – Day 1

After meeting the in laws, being treated as royalty, we travelled to Sunamgonj, a four hour car journey, a short boat ride crossing the river and then on a motorbike for twenty mins to get to the school (madrassa)… A two floor building housing 140 resident students of which forty are orphans… nearby locals also come so approx 300 students…

This place was a plain field before the efforts of Caravan of Mercy… We joined the group while they were eating… We then went to the village on a motor bike, before leaving Moulana calls us over and I’m thinking what does he want to show me. He introduces me to a kid who has such a bad skin condition that I’m too scared to shake his hands.. In that one instant I was measured as a bad person and feared that its not safe for me… I’m looking at this kids who is crying tears, but these are not tears but fresh puss from his eyes.. Caravan of Mercy has paid for his treatment in Dhaka.. I then see a mother crying for her daughter who has no hands, I’m shocked and Moulana replies ask from Allah, we don’t provide nothing, emphasizing we are only the means.. We then set off on our motor bikes …seeing the pockets of people living all over…seeing the land that is filled with water every year.. Taking tourist pictures… small mosques where Caravan of Mercy pays for the teacher so kids can learn for free… Realizing knowledge is a part of the starvation here.. we then an Aaqiqah for Moulana grand daughter. I also slaughter a cow and we have a BBQ.. The kids do non-stop kidmat (Hospitality), excited simply to be within our company and this, simply feeds them with happiness.. just seeing us.. There are Christian missionaries here too in the village with their setup…they could either see us or them.. without Caravan of Mercy it would have only been them..



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Caravan of Mercy SSP Jan / Feb 2013 – Day 5

Today is going to be an easy day..just visiting places and doing things we have done already.. Nothing new to think about… I did not have a shower this morning, Fajr namaz first.. I Went to sleep in the clothes I was wearing all day yesterday…a beautiful short walk to madrassa for Fajr namaz.. There is a grave that i walk past, its Moulana Abdul’s (our cook) father. Moulana Abdul’s father started the, madrassa in this area. Today there are 400 becoming haafiz and/or aalims. Caravan of mercy have been sponsoring 30 orphan kids for the past 3 years, wuzu khana, ramzan food distribution and water pumps around the, area… Ronnie, cuts a cow after namaz.. Moulana confirms we having a bbq tonight..Wicked..

First stop, girls maktab..about 40 girls this maktab and is coming under Caravan of Mercy donation from next year.. Moulana tells me a lot these maktab start-up but don’t have enough money to continue. He tells me of a story where somebody from South Africa y established 600 maktabs but a lot of them have closed down due to financial problems…the kids all stop…Moulana requests one of the girls to pray…lovely sound and tajweed… Moulana is impressed….this is a well run maktab…. There is a water pump here provided by caravan of mercy serving the area….Moulana asks where is the mosque here…why don’t they use this place for namaz as well and have a imam to stay here…Mufti Nazrulislam says it’s too expensive making a quarters for the imam, setting up electricity etc… Moulana accepts…this makhtab is on the road side on the opposite of the river banks, this whole road is packed with people during the rainy seasion..I can begin to imagine this…

We stopover at the cournish ‘ghat’. A sort of public place, undisturbed view of the river bank line, the place is empty…I stand facing the river, the river bank curls round from my left to behind me and then in front of me before curling back round..It’s impossible for me imagine the water lever bring up to the edge of where im standing..the river is currently 20 to 25 foot below me…there are loads of square blocks at the bottom of the bank to stop the river from punching into the bank during the raining seasons the bank is sloped intentionally in a way to guide water from left to right to try and stop the water entering the Sirajgonj city… In the center of this port area, people are putting up some stuff, I think they preparing for a visit from Shaikh Hasina, the Prime Minsiter. District Comissioner told us this when we went for tea yesterday to his home, he is currently helping prepare an entourage of 1500 people and 60 cars to cater for this visit.

Went to Mufti Narziulislam Makhtab to see the kids. The kids are given English educatiin here too..nothing like uk but it’s,better than nothing. Kids say synchronised salaam as we enter…we hear two girl praying.. sounds amazing..they are about 6 -8 years old.. this is amazing….Maktab is getting ready for women sewing class.. It’s almost ten am.. Sajid seeing someone having a shower from a water pump..It’s cold at ten here. We are taken back at the thought of having cold showers every morning…some things just hit you a little at the right time and moment, this was one of them….

We then go to another makhtab. I don’t know where I am, all I know is where ever I am, where ever I have been this past morning, wherever I look gets flooded….so I’m told…still, a part of me does not believe what they say about the floods….a part of me thinks all the Muftis’ and,Moulana’s,have got to together and made up a story and then played it to me..i know,this is not true….The Quran is a fact., but my imaan in it is low.. in the same way the floods here, the sufferings here is a fact..but my belief in it is low, not yet convinced…does it need to be convinced..what if I’m not convinced and then on the day of judgement I discover it to be a truth fact….why is not what I have seen enough to make me act for the better. I choose to believe something else is true, the made up truth allow’s me to be lazy without feeling guilt…..Shaytaan has worked for a long time on me. So any initiation of a good action coming out,of me starts with me believing or convincing myself the fact to be a lie…this can’t be true, you don’t need to do this..I need to beat this thinking out of me… There loads of Saree factories here as I walk to this maktab …manual weaving machines Ronnie,tells me there is one person doing four things on the machine, says this is the definition of ‘manual skilled labour’. Whilst walking I see fantastic bamboo bridge made by Red Crescent from the Arab world, it looks strong….survives flood but the bamboo effect makes it look comical..about to drop….

There are lovely hanging raw cotton on bamboo washing lines….different colours.. they look lovely hanged out to dry, something put in movies to set a colourful scene …. We finally reach the makhtab, there are orphans kids here too, loads of kid but there is only one teacher……

Off to another place to give out cow and goats. We stop at railway line, walk over it and reach a slow drop in the land scape as we approach.. The madrassa and its’ coutry yard comes in to view.. a beautiful place.. Cows to the left and goats to the’s green and trees cover the front of the madresa mango trees along the side of the court of those places you think you would settle after a hard life.. We don’t waste time here.. quickly get the recipient list… We continue to build our photo album…but we do less photos. I’m just tired or bored of taking photos whilst giving or may be I’m beginning to feel guilty.. Not sure which one yet.. …Moulana is asking each person their family size and condition before deciding to give a single cow or a cow with a calf..

Back at base camp, quick shower to get ready for the wedding day..the District Commisioner Assistant has come specially to visit Ronnie, he impressed the District Commissioner yesterday..they are chatting.. I sit to be respectful….I try to talk or say something just for customary contribution to the conversation but the DC assistant blanks me completely so I slowly and quietly leave the room unnoticed…when big people are talking small people should just leave…

Moulana is upset with mufti Naziulismal that the ‘starter packs’ are not ready… We help pack the starters pack suitcases, their ‘goodie’ bag… Each getting one quality loonghi, two ok good saree..two ok saree, Soap box, comb, a can of Hajr oil and some other stuffs….in addition to the bedding and kitchen utensils…Nikah time; back on stage with wedding hat again, Sajid and,Mamajee are also in the act….second wedding jokes ring around the stage…why are the dulabhais looking so serious so.. i dont know, hopefully us wearing the wedding hat on makes them more comfortable…as long I think it makes people smile then I don’t really care if I look a little stupid..I come off the stage to hear how the individual nikah paper is done and again the fun continues, I’m asked to sit down next my dulabhais and the hat is back on my head. Interesting perspective view from here; there are people on stage.. It’s my special day but these people are on stage..I don’t get to go on stage….ok kutbah time..who are these people..I got over ten people,on stage and I think I know two of them (if I was a local),is,dc assistant saab and the other mufti saab, out of the local perspective..……I begin to miss my wife…I miss my whole family, my nieces and nephew.. weddings are family time.. I look to my right and I see there is camera here too, no wonder dulbhais are looking so serious.. I’m on national tv ..S***..this is going to be funny…hope my in laws don’t take it badly if they see me on tv sitting down as if I’m getting married again…

After Asar namaz we give the ‘starter packs’ out..I don’t want to take photos..I feel bad looking at the poor….really bad..I speak to Moulana about this..he tells me my feelings are right..but these people are so poor that they see these things as gifts…we try to make their day special that is why we should try to make them laugh, brighten up their mood and get involved with them…Moulana is good at this…he begins with shouting to the grooms who is going to give my Bangladesh damaad, referring to me, a Walima dawat.. Only one dulabhai raises his hands…everyone laughs..but they all raise their hand slowly..they are just nervous.. Moulana then each ask their names and knows the meaning of each person name….translates the meaning of their name and relates it to each of them…they all smile one at a time… He gets to a person..around 40 years old..Moulana shouts what’s your name in urdu receiving a reply “Shahjahan” …Moulana says “SubhanAllah, aaj shahjaahan kor Noorjahan mil jayegi” everybody laughs…Shahjahan can’t hold his laughter so much so that he has to cover his face….it was good to see this…there was so much charity in this effort of making someone laugh from Moulana.. This is Shahjahan’s second marriage.. when Shajhan tells us that his wife and kid are dead from his first marriage, we are all paused with shock and sadness except the locals, it nothing new for them, do you lift the conversation from here…Moulana says to Shahjahan they are not dead..they have gone to Allah…Shahjalal smiles ..

Shahjahan and Noorjahan jokes carry on..

Just before Magrib we hear there is a hartal happening tomorrow, no one knows for definite yet, after Magrib namaz it is confirmed there is a hartal (stike) on the roads so no driving tomorrow..we are due to go Kumirgram..plans need to change..

I’m just lying down writing my blog..Ronnie,and Sajid are knocked out jn the room on their beds…Mamajee,walks through the door gesturing somebody else to come in.. here we go..who is it… It’s national tv… Mamajee convinced them to interview me… Mamajee tells national tv who to interview, where to stand, what questions to ask, orchestrates my speech. I’m just spurring out words.. words that are true but I’m just saying them… Mamajee is taking over.. he is controlling the media now…whilst in the background Ronnie and Sajid are knocked out sleeping..

After Esha namaz we go for a bike rikshaw ride with the rikshaw drivers from the rikshaw distribution earlier today. The most exciting place to visit by my tour guide is a British built bridge with no pillars…

Moulana Talha starts the bbq, the attendees are Moulanas, future Moulanas, Muftis and us boosroogs. The bbq meat is lovely with spicy baked beans, this is our 3rd meal with no fish….everyone is dong the point that a student is followingme around with a plastic chair…

we do mashwera and decide we should leave for our 6 hour journey straight away as the (hartal)strike begins at 6am lasting until magrib time..we pack light and leave for Kurigram at 12am.. 270km towards the northen country border.. the caravan has been joined by a mini caravan containing all the muftis and moulana….

The driver drives like a nutcase, nothing new but we’re still not use to it..we are just bouncing from left and right from overtaking manoeuvres.. Up and down from bumps and holes, and back and forth from fast acceleration and hard breaking…The side window is opened to get dome fresh air in…then suddenly Moulana Shoaib is vomiting out the window, a big stripe of vomit down the side of the car… We do mashwera after mashwera.. apparently, Moulan Zaharuddin says, this driving is normal, so we carry on… I’m tired and sleepy… Knocked out and have a terrible sleep but at least I slept……i feel sorry for people who were awake during the journey… Made it.iRonnie tells me Moulana Zaharuddin has been slapping, pinching and feeding the driver to ensure he stays awake.. We quickly do wuzu using the water pump fitted by caravan of mercy..The water is warm which is amazing…local tells me it’s like that…during the day its cold and during the night it’s warm……

We knock out straight after fajr namaz…today’s plan is to do the distribution of cows and 25 nikahs…it’s gonna be a long day..

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Caravan of Mercy SSP Jan/ Feb 2013 – Day 4

Fajr Azaan going off.. Plenty of time, have a bucket bath first, killed the hot water, and missed namaz. I don’t feel that bad about missing namaz….

I hope someone from Tabligh comes and gets me to sort myself out…

The caravan is being loaded. Before we depart Moulana Abul Hassan, local trustee of the markaz takes me to the blind school/madrassa opposite. I’m looking forward to seeing people that can’t see… I don’t realise the gift of eyes and I missed fajr today…. I feel I’m just acting living life under a false pretense. Kids are praying in Brail… I can’t help but think they will never be able to use a smart phone… I shake each of the 30 student’s hands… The most gifted people I met…

I tell Moulana don’t forget the ketchup for the BBQ. He rips into me saying you’re worried about ketchup when people don’t have anything to eat…? The touching experience from the past days has already left my conscious. Too much messed up and selfish thinking this morning.

Moulana is frequently giving us snippets of karguzary (stories of real life experiences) from his previous experiences or telling a joke, it seems he has an airplane full of stories and jokes, he tells us in his serious but not so serious manner that when he was in Pakistan he saw a kabrastan (graveyard) 1km long… Moulana Aziz responds and says if it’s full of Pathans then there must be a lot of ‘Jugggrah’ underground there. The lively caravan fills with laughter…

We stop at the gas station and have some Amra fruit sprinkled with spicy powder, and oranges to take away. We drive over Jamuna Bridge, the eleventh longest bridge in the world. Over 4km long. Another knowledge transfer from Moulana Zahruddin, he slightly stutters and speaks in a rhythmic style which, strangely, is really nice to hear him speak. This guy is seriously smart. He does contracting as a webmaster doing programming. He created the web site for Caravan of Mercy. Never studied IT and knows something about everything we have talked about so far. He takes time from his work to simply help. He does not get paid. Sirajgonj is his City but he has been with us from day one and will be with until we leave Bangladesh, I hope he comes India, I hope every Moulana comes with us… Need to upsize of the caravan….

We are now near the Sirajgonj Islamia madrassa and I am seeing vast flat lands, with pockets of natural raised land as far as the eye can see. The roads are always built on high man-made land. The actual flat lands are about 12 feet below the roads. Moulana and Saleh Bhai tell me about the floods during their previous visit, they show me where the water level reached during the rainy season and I try to picture everything around me and replace it with choppy water with a couple of boats with Saleh Bhai and Moulana travelling on one of these boats. I fail to imagine this.

Reached the madrassa, this is where Moulana Talha and Zahurul live… We’re greeted with respect and given royalty status. Quick program planning which finished with Moulana saying juldi juldi (hurry hurry), and it’s time for elevenzies (11am) snack time. They give us fruits and fish! We set off to an island in the Jamuna River to a settlement called Doulatour-chor.

It’s is a big island that has many settlements. .. It’s an half hour ride in a diesel powered boat, the noise of the engine reminds me of the people snoring in my room last night and Suhel, our Sunday league midfield dynamo, slow, skilled and experienced, I expect a phone call from him shortly as soon as this blog is out….. Our entourage are all Moulana’s, about 7 Moulanas (Saleh Bhai included as a moulana) a mufti and 3 of us boosroogs (me, Ronnie and Sajid). The boat has a canpopy in the middle which shelters us from the sun above, it’s like a dining room. The floor, roof and pillars are made with bamboos. We relax in the boats dining room area .the floor is cool, a near warm amazing breeze and an authentic experience. The scenery is beautiful, just slightly spoilt only by the dust in the air.. There is no desert here, it all from the many brick making factories and dry dirt.. Moulana Munshi mentions all the people on the island gesturing his hand all the way from left to right gets flooded and people evacuate the islands. … and have to come and live on the banks (generally on roads built on higher ground) They would continue to live there for two or three months, it’s hard to believe….Where we are going is not an island’s vast land as far as the eye can see…it becomes islands when this region is flooded, if the flood is really really really bad, as opposed to yearly really really bad, then there are no island as well, we have KitKat and Twix bought from Morrisons that my mum and sister packed, never gonna moan when they pack my bag full with food next time.

We reach the island (going to be local and use island for description). It’s a big island. It’s sandy… Could start a resort here, make some money… we have to walk as there is no land transport here. I see a couple of huts on some naturally higher land to the left. That’s where we are heading, why do they settle if they know it floods? Moulana mentions it’s because they can either farm and feed themselves, live and work for others whilst others don’t have anywhere else to go… The land I’m walking on would be under water during the rainy season but right now lentils, rice paddies and peanuts were being grown. This place looks beautiful, dry, light brown and cracked land with rich greenery and crops. Mamagee is recording this whole experience. Not sure how much memory he has on his Chinese Nokia lookalike phone…Moulana notices this and appreciates mamajees enthusiasm and energy, Mamajee tries to educate me on everything that is growing on this land…I learn a lot from him about Bangladesh, language is a barrier though, one word at a time…but I don’t understand why he needs to hold my hand while he talks or walks with me, I’m on an island and can’t run anywhere. From now on I’m gonna try and keep my hands in my pockets. We reach the village resort and climb around 7 feet into the village level. It seems we have just come off the beach and we’re now on the resorts complex, this is a decent size resort complex of 50 by 150 meters approximately. All the homes are plain huts, made of tin, straw, bamboo and cow dung.. Village workers are out to see us but there are no tourist here except us.. If Caravan of Mercy and other charities don’t visit this place then Allah will knows best how the resort would survive. Moulana Talha tells me his home is about a 3 hour walk that way, his parents live there. I ask him what he does during the rainy season. He says we go to my brother’s house in Sirajgonj. Moulana Talha tells me this in the most natural and un-worrying way; An overflowing river flooding his home each year does not affect his mood, worries him, depresses him or makes him live life in state of constant need.. This might be because he is a moulana, but we have observed the poor people and generally poor people here are not sad. They seem content or happy or it’s just not their character express sadness. I think Moulana Talha is poor.. Not just as poor as the other poor people here but my observation still stands. In the UK I think I have security; the NHS, police, social security, job centre and Tesco Express. So the government does not motivate me to be religious or to be appreciating as I have my needs fulfilled, unless, as Moulana previously mentioned, you must make effort on your imaan….

Moulana is seriously worried and concerned (It’s his constant state on this trip) to help and is talking to Mufti Nazirulislam.. I walk on and notice the lambs and goats we gonna give out. They have been delivered here before we arrived. Who paid for the goats to get here? Admin cost or Lillah cost? You can’t use sadqah for delivery cost, the unknowns to me; logistics costs for charities becoming apparent, the need to give supporting lillah or admin cost for logistical costs otherwise try delivering zakat or sadqah ourselves..I’m still looking at goats, they are far more interesting today because they serve a higher and wider purpose than my lamb burger. This bakri (Goat) will provide more help to the Muslim Ummah than I have…Saleh Bhai comes and he tells me families will use the goat for milk to sell or consume. When they reproduce, they will sell the eldest and use that money, but they will not eat the lam or goat with their family.. It’s an asset for them. Emergency asset to cover the cost of hospital fees… Ronnie has caught up, points at a spring lamb and says he wants to bbq it.. cracks me up, but Saleh Bhai is saying the truth, but I find it hard to believe and need a second hearing..

We walk around the settlement, we were taken to a home, the residents is elderly woman looking after her elderly husband…he has problems…she has his problems….but she does not complain… She is only asking for assistance… Not help…I’m negotiating whether to give 500 Dhaka or a 1000… Why am I negotiating with my money and rewards from Allah… I leave without giving anything as I don’t reach an agreement in time…I feel bad. The party has moved on…

I notice a kid here with a 4 inch scar on his chest.. I query this and find out he got this when he went for a swim in the river and a floating bamboo end met his chest.. Saleh Bhai pulls out a Twix from his pocket. He had decided not to eat it earlier on the boat ride but saved it for later to earn rewards on his Twix rather than eat it like the rest of us. He tells the kids to share…did my sister think this packet of Twix will be shared with kids in a village this far away and this poor who have never probably seen a Twix wrapper before. My sister gonna get loads of thawab (rewards) because she simply bought the Twix because she cares, she cared for my trip and to please Allah. I realise just being caring can you get you rewards you will only discover on the Day of Judgment. Allah will account for this Twix in his most merciful and most giving way on the Day of Judgment…I ate my Twix! But Saleh Bhai beat the Moulanas’ on this action. That made me smile. I feel it’s possible that I have a chance to maybe stand amongst the people dedicating their lives to the cause through the mercy of Allah, The Twix story just showed me..May Allah makes us more caring…

After everyone has completed wuzu at the four water pumps in the settlement, we pray Zuhr namaz in the mosque… It’s a tin.7 metres wide by 6 metres depth… There is no electricity in the settlement … The mosque is almost packed…about 20 people.. Moulana and Mufti Nazirulislam discuss sponsoring an imam for this mosque, this mosque does not have an imam,.someone comes for Jumah prayer only..Moulana discusses and decides Caravan of Mercy will pay for an imam and madrassa for kids to learn Quran.If he did not then these people will not have access to islamic knowledge. (Allah knows best)..Who would want to come all the way and be an imam in this settlement, I understand the reasoning… Caravan of Mercy gonna have to pay a higher wage to get an imam, a reluctant imam accepting for the higher wage, It cost more money to get knowledge to the rural areas, the cities are not a problem… Moulana negotiates with the locals, Caravan of Mercy will pay for the Maktabs cost but the poor must get together and help by feeding the imam, each day a different family will share their food with the imam.. Moulanas tactic to get the locals involved. The locals agree, I see them so happy…..they agree to a deal to have less of something they have minimum off for the sake of deen. Islamic education for this village has just been secured… I feel something fuzziness in my nose and I think I might just shed a tear………… But no tears. I’m too strong to be broken by this. It’s not sad enough, defining enough and happy enough… What will it take…. Caravan of Mercy is starting ten Maktabs in this island area.. No way near enough…. There are 68000 villages in Bangladesh. After namaz, the Caravan of Mercy workers do the goat and cow recipient list and begin to distribute… Photo shoot time…the pics make me look like I’m doing loads of stuff to help the poor but done nothing except for taking credit and smiling in pics…Everyone wants a pic taken…it’s sad really I know but it’s enjoyable for me to be here and I want a pic to remember it, and then another pic and then another… I am making the poor stand, a mother, a sister, all poor people hold their sadqah, smile for the camera and I’m in the pic with a tourist grin and the audience will say Masha Allah..they delivered, the Caravan of Mercy guys are doing great work rolling of their lips before saying the ummah of prophet (saw) is suffering and needs my help……I’m getting angry at the situation, I’m the worst from the audience….I try to take contentment in that the pics are needed to prove Caravan of mercy’s accounts and to create awareness abroad. It works for me…

There is small tin and cement building about three times the size of mosque. It is a school built by the Government..but no schooling happens or ever happened according to the locals..I guess the government built it for favouring statistics,…I think the government does not a care about these people, they not even accountable as these people are not on the system…these people are only on the charity organization’s systems.. I know them better than their Government..I feel this way…

We head back and look forward to the boat ride back…relaxing and peaceful..until the workers turn the ‘Suhel’ engine on…

From the river side, back in Sunamgonj, I look back and think that journey took 45 mins because we had a boat waiting…Moulana Zahuddin says the biggest problem is getting pregnant women to hospital during labor …

Me and Ronnie catch a cycle Rickshaw back to current base. We buy three bottles of coke for me, Ronnie and the driver..I think the driver will refund it as soon as he drops us off..

Back at base camp, just been resting for ten mins after lunch and Mamajee is calling me, it’s time to distribute the passenger and transport rickshaws…I rush out…forgot my jacket…Mamajee grabs my hand and takes me to where Moulana is… The passenger and transport rickshaws are lined up..not all the recipients that will get the rickshaws are here. They are in Markaz on 3 days Jamaat. A condition by Moulana before they can take away their rickshaw..we will distribute it tomorrow so today is simply a photo shoot with the District Commissioner,….we take all sorts of pictures..the bike’s handle, wheel, badge, us on the bike, next to the bike, all the combinations possible of people standing next to each other on the left and then right.. The District Commissioner, who had late lunch with us, invites us to his home to eat.. next we pray Namaz…Just finished doing wuzu in the wuzu khana donated by Caravan of Mercy as the current wuzu khana cannot support the load of all the taps being open during busy times..I do salaam with the a kid at the madrassa and next thing I know is 15 plus other kids come and do salaams with me like I’m giving out sweets…Moulana arrives and mufti makes two of the kid do quran qiraat just like that…Masha allah..really nice voice and excellent tajweed even though my tajweed is bad I think I can recognise excellent tajweed.. After namaz we go to Mufti Naziulislam’s house, he has a good covered space. Women are seated. This is where he runs girls madrassa and now a women sewing class. This is the Women sewing class just set up by Caravan of Mercy. Caravan of Mercy will provide the cost of the sewing machine and cost for the instructor… Mufti Nazirulism has provided the space where his parents use to live for this work. His parents have passed away.. There is a sewing machine at the front and the class is going on. Some are widows and some ‘just’ poor, some are old and some are young. They will each be given a sewing machine as soon as they finish the 2 -3months course to avoid them selling it if they were given it today..Caravan of Mercy has provided 30 sewing machines. I’m impressed up, Caravan of Mercy tries to think about everyone and tailors the charity to achieve self-sustainability for all from local stories and experience.. We take photos of us sitting on the sewing machine and have a go on it. A nice laugh. We are far away from the problem of these women right in front of them..

We then make our journey back to base camp, but mufti Nazirulislam wants to show Moulana another flood hit maktab… this time it’s where Moulana Munshi is employed to give Islamic education and leads prayer. I can see the grey tin building in the distance on natural higher ground.. we take a walk to it by carefully stepping down 12 feet-ish and walk along the ground where more Lentils are growing..I know because Mamajee has just educated me… Nothing goes to waste…even the land is used for the period of time it is available and that’s why they live on the same place after the floods. It provides for them a job. They are definitely making use of Allah’s gift at all times. My experience is defining my understanding of Rizk. After around 150 metres we reach Moulana Munshi’s maktab, along side it I climb up to the height of the window of this tin building…I then ask molana zaharuddin..if I was standing here last year, would I drown? He says,..yes.. Scary! Mamajee is filming on his camera…memory has still not run out.. We pray magrib here. There is a good feeling in praying namaz in these difficult or remote places but I don’t take time in my prayers… the floor is too hard.. no carpets… no electricity here….back in the van and Mufti Naziulislam wants us to stop somewhere else…it’s a maktab just for adults! ..most of us either filiming or taking photos….They are learning alif bear ter cer…there are elderly people here too..but everyone over the age of 18…my dad prays quran in written gujerati..I’m touched by this that the elders have not been forgotten. The place is 70% full of students.. Moulana wants to start more of these and is currently putting donation boxes in chip shops and other takeaways in Leicester to sponsor Maktabs. One shop each Maktab hopefully.. Your change at a takeaway could contribute to many people being educated…Moulana mentions he needs to see the areas which needs it most and people that can attend, and other criterias before choosing the fortunate locations to sponsor..I wish I would donate more to make his donation allocation decision making process easier and less stressful and have more people islamically educated ….i-Allah we will….

Back in the caravan…back to base camp hopefully..I’m not tired or sleepy..just can’t process this ‘on the ground reality’ and sad information, had enough for one mind is tired…. it’s nice sometimes that this information is packaged and shaped through my tv channel..just enough to see the damage from a helicopter amazed by the view..just enough to keep me entertained, carry a conversation with friends and work colleagues and pretend I care..the best bit is if gets too much I can just switch the channel to sky sports….this caravan channel is too much for me to feel the place, see the place, meet the people, try to understand their life and more, all in one day..Moulana does not let me change the channel..but he keeps us going and I’m standing by him as he is a dedicated servant of Allah and I totally admire his efforts. I’m not getting off the caravan forever i-Allah………Mufti Nazirulislam says lets go to the Sirajgonj markaz and pray Esha namaz there. I don’t care no more.. I’m given the rest of the evening to this work. I have tashkeeled and made intention more moaning….. The markaz is simple…looks like a rectangle birdcage as I approach it.. I sense and feel the tabligh sincerity and buzz as soon as I enter….peaceful.. People in groups doing taleem or something similiar…me and moulana sit next to each other.. I feel fortunate after today’s experience… There is an elder (Moulana Markaz – I don’t know his name) getting dressed, putting his kafni pants on with skilled loonghi use, I am told by a local he is a Tabligh shoora member. Everyone is looking at us..a brother asks me,where we from..are you here in jamaat…Moulana tells him we hear to do Nusrat, my concentration is going….Moulana talks to the elder (Moulana Markaz)..the urdu too pure for me to understand, moulana is offered to lead salat.. Moulana politely refuses…the elder asks seems like there is a Moulana stand off… Moulana refuses..we are all standing.. Moulana markaz says we gonna wait for somebody to come before starting namaz..everyone in the markaz including us sit down and wait, except the Moulana and Moulana Markaz…the stand off continues…Moulana Markaz specifies to Moulana to sit down .Moulana responds with how can I sit when boosroogs are standing….the stand off ends. It’s a draw…they both slowly watching each other sit down …that’s my interpretation of last two minutes…I can’t concentrate….

After namaz me and Ronnie go to the caravan.. There is another adjacent building to the left of the markaz.. Moulana and Mufti Nazirulislam go there.. I can’t think no more.. Moulana has called us and we walk into the building where bayaan is about to start..we enter a basic room with a bed. The room is the size of two single beds.. Moulana is talking to Dr Yusuf..a Shuura member in Tabligh….they talk about cost of Catarac eye operation, how many can be done in a single day with multiple doctors etc…. Was this meeting planned..or guided by Allah…I’m day dreaming in and out of concentration…..Dr Yusuf says around 2500 Dhakas (almost 20pounds)..that’s cheap! they must do the opt in this building so I ask stupidly…..the price for check up is 100 Dhaka and another 200 Dhaka for prescribed glasses…just a little over 2 pounds.. . ..they discuss aiming younger kids as they have a lot of life years left in them…what a sad conversation but these tough decisions need to be made because we don’t give in charity enough..Moulana, Dr Yusuf and Moulana Zahruddin put in place the next step to provide help for Cateract sufferers and general poor people with their vision…. Dr Yusuf tells us a story, a non-muslim Doctor once told him..that because he is a muslim doctor, and as a doctor, it is his duty to ask and get signed physical and insurance statements by each patient..AND he must also check their spiritual condition as well before any operation, it’s in the definition of ‘Health’ something that Dr Yusuf was not doing.. Dr yusuf agreed so he started to do this and discovered 95% of his patients can’t say the kalimah…

Finally back at base camp… Ronnie cant’ believe the cost of an eye check up and prescription…he works in NHS so this surprises him more…he says its less than the price of a coffee to fix some one’s sight…I agree…next time we go for a costa, have a Caterac coffee……. We hear a 24year old Moulana give Quran qiraat…sounds unbelievable… Time to knock out….tomorrow’s plan is to visit some maktabs, give out 40 rickshaws, 30 nikahs and starter packs and 40 goats or lambs…I’m ready….

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Creating a Portable Windows 8 Environment with Windows To Go

Download Guide:  3081_Windows8ToGo_WSG


You can create a Windows To Go workspace to boot a portable and managed Windows 8 system on a managed or unmanaged Windows 7 or Windows 8 host computer. For example, you might want to provide a company-owned Windows To Go workspace to a staff member who uses their own non-domain-joined computer at work. The Windows To Go workspace provides a domain-joined computer experience for this user, without modifying their personal consumer device. As another example, you could create a Windows To Go workspace for yourself to use on a home computer running Windows 7.

You can use a Windows To Go workspace like any desktop, laptop, or slate computer. For example, you can:

  • Join a corporate domain
  • Connect to the corporate network from a remote site using VPN
  • Install applications
  • Access USB devices (such as a smart card reader) attached to the host

A Windows To Go workspace works with any host computer (desktop, laptop, or slate PC) that supports the Boot To USB Hard Disk Drive startup option. When you connect a Windows To Go workspace to a USB port on a host computer, the workspace is isolated from the host system’s hard drive so the hard drive cannot be compromised or infected. The user can switch between the Windows To Go workspace and the host hard drive at any time by inserting or removing the Windows To Go workspace during a system restart.


Creating a Windows To Go workspace

To create a Windows To Go workspace, use the Windows To Go creator provisioning tool.  The provisioning tool is available from the Windows 8 Control Panel (Enterprise Edition only).

Use the provisioning tool to create the workspace


To create a Windows To Go workspace using the provisioning tool:

1. Ask your administrators to share a copy of the Windows OS installation image file (also known as a .WIM file) that you can copy to your DOWNLOADS library folder.


2. Ask your administrators to provide a Windows OS installation image file in DVD-ready format (also known as a .ISO file), which you can copy to your DOWNLOADS library folder.

3. When the download is complete, open your Downloads folder on the host computer, press and hold (or right-click with the mouse) the Windows 8 installation image .ISO file, and then tap or click MOUNT ISO.

The .ISO file appears as a disk drive on your host computer.

4. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen (point to the upper-right corner of the screen with the mouse), tap or click the Settings charm, and then tap or click the Control Panel app to open the Control Panel.

5. In the Control Panel, tap or click Windows To Go.

6. Insert a USB drive into a USB port on the host computer.

NOTE:  Make sure to remove any files on the USB drive that you want to save. The USB drive will be reformatted and all data will be deleted when you provision it.

7. In the Choose the drive you want to use screen, the provisioning tool displays any attached USB drives. Select the USB drive you want to use, and then tap or click Next.


8. In the Choose a Windows 8 image screen, the provisioning tool displays the mounted .ISO file. If you don’t see the .ISO file, tap or click Add search location to select the mounted .ISO file. Tap or click the file, and then tap or click Next.


9. In the Set a BitLocker password (optional) screen, select the Use BitLocker with my Windows To Go workspace check box if you want to protect the drive with BitLocker® Drive Encryption, and follow the prompts to enter . and confirm a BitLocker password.



NOTE:  To learn more about BitLocker, see the Protecting Your Data with Windows 8 BitLocker Work Smart Guide:

10. In the Ready to create your Windows to Go workspace screen, tap or click Create to create the Windows To Go workspace.


The provisioning tool starts to prepare your USB drive. This typically takes less than one hour.

11. In the Choose a boot option screen, select a boot (startup) option. If you tap or click Yes, the Windows Boot Manager configuration will be modified to automatically boot from your Windows To Go device when it is connected to this host computer.



NOTE  If you want to change the boot option after running the wizard, in the Windows 8 Start screen, type Change Windows To Go Startup Options, tap or click Settings to change the search scope, and then tap or click the Change Windows To Go Startup Options app to open it.



12. When provisioning is complete, tap or click Save and restart to restart the host computer.

Suspending BitLocker on the host computer

If the host computer is protected by BitLocker, and if you are switching the boot order permanently in BIOS or UEFI startup device options, you must suspend BitLocker protection before switching the boot order on the host computer. Otherwise, you will trigger the BitLocker recovery key screen when you try to boot back to the internal hard drive. After switching the boot order, you will need to resume BitLocker protection for the internal drive.

How you suspend BitLocker depends on the operating system that you are using.

Windows 7 Host

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click System and Security, and then click BitLocker Drive Encryption.
  3. In the BitLocker Drive Encryption dialog box, click Suspend Protection.



NOTE  To resume protection after switching the boot order, click Resume protection in the BitLocker Drive Encryption dialog box.

Windows 8 Host

  1. In the Start screen, type Control Panel, and then tap or click the Control Panel app on the left side of the screen to open the Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel, tap or click System and Security, and then tap or click BitLocker Drive Encryption.
  3. In the BitLocker Drive Encryption dialog box, tap or click Suspend protection.


NOTE  To resume protection after switching the boot order, click Resume protection in the BitLocker Drive Encryption dialog box.

Updating the configuration

When you connect a Windows To Go workspace to a new host computer and restart the host computer, Windows To Go automatically detects and applies the needed configuration updates before the Windows logon.

After logon, you may need to go to Windows Update to ensure that the Windows To Go workspace has the latest device drivers.

To check for updates:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen (point to the upper-right corner of the screen with the mouse), tap or click the Settings charm, and then tap or click Change PC Settings.
  2. Tap or click Windows Update.
  3. On the right side of the screen, tap or click Check online for updates.

Working with IntelliMirror

If you have configured IntelliMirror® services for an IT-managed computer, your data libraries will automatically sync to the new Windows To Go workspace after logon. For more information on IntelliMirror, see the Backing Up Your Data Work Smart Guide:

Recommended USB Drives

Windows To Go requires a USB 3.0 flash drive, which can be used on computers with USB 3.x and USB 2.x ports. To see a list of USB drives that are recommended for Windows To Go workspaces, go to:

Drives that are recommended are marked as shown in the following graphic.


For more information

Microsoft IT Showcase

Windows To Go

Windows To Go: Features Overview

Windows To Go Step By Step (en-US)

Windows To Go: Frequently Asked Questions

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Water Lint Trap From a 5 Gallon Bucket for All Seasons

Water Lint Trap From a 5 Gallon Bucket for All Seasons

Water Lint Trap From a 5 Gallon Bucket for All Seasons

Vent warm humid air into your house from the dryer. Don’t send your nice heated air outside. When it warms up outside, quickly configure the lint trap to vent to the outdoors and save your air conditioning.

Step 1

Cut the Holes

Cut 3 vent holes in the lid of a 5 gallon bucket. I am using a 4″ can as a template, so that I will ensure a snug fit. Diameter of the first 2 holes is slightly over 4″ to accept the 4″ dryer vent hose. (A jigsaw cuts the best, a drywall jab saw wants to get stuck.  I used a utility knife.  Scary!…but the cut was great.) The third hole is a half inch bigger (4 1/2″ diameter) so I can use the scrap as a cover for the unused vent hole. I am using cans that just happen to be the right 4″ size. The cans will be used later to stiffen up the ends of the dryer hose.

Step 2

Screened Vent Hole

This is the bigger of the 3 vent holes.  Air from the dryer exits from this vent into the room. 2 layers of window screen wire. Attached with glue gun on the bottom of the lid. Added little more hot glue for the screen wire on the top of the bucket lid, just to make it easier to clean and stronger.

Step 3

Attach Metal Sleeve

Attach cans with hose clamps. (I currently only have one can, so on the other hose I had to make due with foil tape that I had in abundance.) If 4″ cans aren’t around, any hardware store sells the proper fitting for a dryer hose for 3 bucks or so, and it probably can be cut in half to do the job for both vent hoses.

Step 4

Weighted Cap

Top of vent hole cover diameter 4 1/2″.   On the bottom of the vent hole cover, I added some weatherproofing foam. The foam strip didn’t want to stick, so I hit it with the glue gun.

Step 5

Add Water and Bleach

Partially fill the bucket. More water means less refills but the vent hose does not touch the water.  It just blows on it and the lint sticks.
Safety considerations: -Not for use with gas dryers. -If used in a small room, keep the door open while in use to avoid too much heat or moisture to build-up. -Add a cup of BLEACH to the water to keep stuff from growing.  Prevent Legionnaire’s disease.  I would guess that a toilet tank drop-in tablet would work too, like the one Clorox makes.
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Comparison of x86 Blade Servers

Comparison of x86 Blade Servers

I often find myself seeking basic information for competitive blade servers, so I decided to sit down and put together a basic list of blade server details for Cisco, Dell, HP and IBM blade servers. The details provided are based on information publicly available and may be subject to errors.




I hope that if you do find information in the charts below you’ll let me know either via email or in the comments section.  If there are additional areas that you think need to be added to this chart, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.  I write these posts as a hobby so my time is limited to my availability.  Let me know what you think.  Enjoy.

Download the full comparison:


(UPDATED 12.31.2012)

by Kevin Houston

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Exchange 2010 Architecture Report


This script collects information about an Exchange 2010 organization. It generates an output HTML report to present all the collected data. With this report you can see very quickly what is working and what is not. You can use both a GUI version or batch version. The batch version can be used through a schedule task to get a morning health-check.

What is checked by this script?

The following checks are included:
– Active Directory – Viewing SPNs – Duplicated SPNs – Hardware information – Disk Report Information – Exchange Servers Information – Exchange Services – Exchange Rollup (E2K7 only) – Exchange Rollup (E2K10 Only) – Client Access Server Information – Client Access Server – OWA Virtual Directory – Client Access Server – WebServices Virtual Directory – Client Access Server – Autodiscover Virtual Directory – Client Access Server – OAB Virtual Directory – Client Access Server – ECP Virtual Directory – Client Access Server – ActiveSync Virtual Directory – Client Access Server – Powershell Virtual Directory – Client Access Server – Exchange Certificates – HUB Transport – Information – HUB Transport – Back Pressure (E2K10 Only) – Database Availability Group – Information – Database Availability Group – Network – Database Availability Group – Replication – Database Availability Group – DatabaseCopy – Database Availability Group – Backup – Database Availability Group – Database Size and Availability – Database Availability Group – RPCClientAccessServer – Mailbox Server – Information – Mailbox Server – Database Size and Availability – Mailbox Server – Backup – Mailbox Server – RPCClientAccessServer – Mailbox Server – Offline Address Book – Mailbox Server – Calendar Repair Assistant – Public Folder Databases – RPCClientAccess Information – Test Mailflow – Test OWA Connectivity – Test Web Services Connectivity – Test ActiveSync Connectivity – Test ECP Connectivity – Test MAPI Connectivity – Mailbox and Public Folder Databases – Test OutlookConnectivity – Test OutlookWebServices – Test PowershellConnectivity



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Migrate Existing DHCP Server to Windows Server 2012 easily with PowerShell

Migrate Existing DHCP Server to Windows Server 2012 easily with PowerShell

Yea, I like Windows Server 2012, but how do I migrate my Windows Server 2008 or 2008R2 DHCP to new Windows Server 2012 and leverage the new DHCP failover feature?

This can be done easily with the new Windows Server 2012 PowerShell cmdlets. Here is how


First, Install Windows Server 2012 as a VM or on physical host as you prefer in your environment. Install DHCP role and authorize the DHCP server.

For example, I have a DHCP server sits on my Primary DC: I install another VM as secondary

After enable the DHCP server role, go to Windows Server 2012 and create two folders one for export and one for import. In my case, I created folder c:\export and c:\dhcp on the new DHCP server

Export DHCP server configuration and leases

Windows Server 2012 has new DHCP server PowerShell cmdlets which include export/import based on PowerShell. To export the DHCP server configuration, scopes and leases from a Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 DHCP server. Below is the command to export DHCP configuration and leases from WS2012VMDC01

Export-DhcpServer –ComputerName -Leases -File C:\export\dhcpexp.xml -verbose

If you don’t wish to export lease information, leave out the –Leases switch from the command

Import to the new Windows Server 2012 DHCP Server

Using the DHCP server Windows PowerShell import, the DHCP server configuration can be now be imported on the Windows Server 2012 DHCP server. For my case, i am using the following command:

Import-DhcpServer –ComputerName -Leases –File C:\export\dhcpexp.xml -BackupPath C:\dhcp\ -Verbose

If you only want to import specific scopes (e.g.,, you can use the following import command:

Import-DhcpServer –ComputerName -Leases –File C:\export\dhcpexp.xml -BackupPath C:\dhcp -Verbose –ScopeId,

DHCP Failover

Windows Server 2012 has a new feature called DHCP failover. You can configure this in two model Load Balance or Hot Standby. Do you need a cluster? No.

You can now take any two DHCP server and failover each other. To configure this, go to DHCP server manager right click and select Configure Failover. Select the failover server and you are all set.


For detailed step-by-step guide for DHCP Failover, refer to TechNet Guide Here

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