Enote 103 – With the Rohingyas in Bangladesh

February 21, 2014

Dear Friends,

Excluded from SchoolAs I write, we have just returned from our trip to the Kutupalong Refugee camp in Bangladesh. It was a very emotional experience seeing all these children full of friendship, smiles, energy, and cheer at our coming. Also full of promise; for they are the future of their people. The knowledge that almost all of that potential will be wasted in a squalid camp, is terribly frustrating and disheartening. When these children finally come to understand the crimes perpetrated upon them, will they strike out in anger against those who have acquiesced in their abuse?

Tin Soe and Child

 

I can hope not; I can hope that a few will become like this man. We first met Tin Soe three years ago on our first trip to the Kutupalong Refugee camp. It was he who helped facilitate the work we and Children On The Edge were doing there. Shown here with his lovely daughter, Tin Soe has had many opportunities to resettle in a western country but has chosen to remain with his people so that he can better help them.

 

Tuk Tuk in ChittagongBy the way for those of you who may not have been there, Bangladesh traffic takes a little getting used to. After our visit with the refugees, Liz, Doug and I took a harrowing 6 hour ride to Chittagong just 145 km. away. Clearly the average speed was low enough but all three of us still can't understand how we escaped several situations without accident. A news article from the Dhaka Daily Star notes,"We have 6,300 traffic related fatalities per 100,000 vehicles per year in Bangladesh whereas it is only 100 in India." The latter country is not particularly well-known for its safe disciplined driving. The picture on the left is taken from a Tuk Tuk in Chittagong and shows the metal webbing to protect the passengers from robbery.


We are all now safe in Bangkok. Our work finished for this trip, Liz and I are looking forward to a vacation in Nepal, arranged by Ashok Basnyat. He was recommended to us by Pam Novak who has made many trips to Nepal and neighboring Tibet. We'll tell you how it goes later.

Best Wishes to all,

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