LETTER FROM CHRISTA SEVIKA SANGHA, JOBARPAR
It is a joy to be able to write again for the magazine, as I had thought my days of writing were over! I write from Birdem Diabetic Hospital, Dhaka, where I have been a patient for the last week.
At this time of year, it is usual for the water in our rivers to rise above their normal beds. However, this year it has been higher than usual. The snow on the Himalayas (the house of ice) melts and flows down the river to meet the sea at the Bay of Bengal. The Kirtonkola River at Barisal has not been affected, but we lost our small rice crop, which we have at the end of November or early December, as the water covered the seedlings. There are 15 crore people in Bangladesh, and of those, 4 have lost everything. Bakal was submerged for a few days when Faridpur overflowed. The flood also affected the water supply, so drinking water is hard to come by. The big problem now is rehabilitation. How can we help?
This hospital specialises in diabetes, and the doctors are both experienced and kind (my own doctor being Dr Professor Faruk Pathan). The nurses treat us well and are mostly old girls from Barisal and Jobarpar, so we know them well. Nirmola is a staff nurse and also the Nursing Superintendent. She came to us as a baby in her mothers arms when her mother Phulmala was widowed with four girls. Another old girl is Manoroma Sardar, who also came as a baby. Her mother, Sourabini, helped in the sisters kitchen, her cakes were beautifully light. Manoroma came to us in St Marys Home, and as she couldnt walk, we gave her red shoes to encourage her. Now she is an important person in World Vision. She has married a Muslim convert; they are very happy and have a son.
The hospital is a 15 storey building and has 600 beds we are on the 11th floor, 5th cabin. Around us are 37 buildings, one of which has 20 storeys. Next door is the Bangladesh radio centre and then the Sheraton Hotel - a grand place. It is on a VIP road, so the traffic is non-stop. There are no horse carriages or the very helpful rickshaws, although there are little CNG taxis from India who try so hard to keep up with the larger vehicles. It is part of the mega-city of Dhaka.
Among those who help is Mona (S.M. Zahidul Ashan), the youngest son of our kind engineer Mr A.K.M. Isahaque. Mona has helped us for the last eight years and is now helping us in the daytime. He obtains necessary medicines, and is happy, cheerful and encourages us through tight situations. Councillor Richard Stevens and his wife (the mayor) have invited him to the UK next year. We hope to return to Jobarpar in a weeks time, before the Ramadan fast begins on September 15th.
This letter comes with greetings to all our readers for a very happy and blessed Christmas and with every good wish for the coming year. May it be full of joy and peace.