Orphantrust » Day 3 – The hunt for Evian and an impromptu drop in to Bottomley House Orphanage

Day 3 – The hunt for Evian and an impromptu drop in to Bottomley House Orphanage

Posted by: on Jun 28, 2018 | No Comments

While sipping tea on the roof terrace of the YWCA, Mohima’s eagle eye spots a bottle of Evian half empty and sitting on a desk in the classroom of the on site school.

She immediately begins to interrogate the first passer by. ‘Where, where can I buy this’ she asks with sheer desperation.

The young man is very pleasant. He explains that often these bottles are refilled and sold as originals.

‘Be weary’ he warns.

He then povides a low down of the bottled water available in Bangladesh and its quality.

This information is worrying. Non the less on our first day in Dhaka, left to our own devices to spend at our leisure, off we set on the mission to find Evian.

We are armed with the name of a Bangladeshi supermarket…

Out in Dhaka just Mohima and I now for the first time, I feel like a pro. We settle for no less than the local rate and somehow with it just being the two of us we are less prone to looking like lost tourists and being ripped off. Travelling here comes so naturally.

With the assistance of the lonely planet and the GPS map of local knowledge, provided by Christopher I begin to try and understand the layout of the city. With our busy schedule over the remaining stay this seems essential.

I discover that a Bangladeshi supermarket is much like a large ethnic grocery store in London. They have refrigerators, freezers a grocery section, a butchers and a savoury snack section. It quickly dawns on us that the search for Evian has failed. A member of staff at the store explains that the bottled refrigerated water sold at the store is indeed re-bottled tap water. We think back to the sleepy villages, the wells and the satisfaction of understanding the source of the drinking water.

We wonder out on to the streets, speaking to the locals and the shop owners as we walk, purchasing fizzy drinks and snacks at every corner. We quiz them on their knowledge of the city’s layout and modes of transport. We aim to eventually make our way over to Kawran Bazaar from Mohammadpur. In the end we decide to take a CNG (a motorised rickshaw).

We step out in to the road to stop one and immediately a man down the road begins to shout at me, indicating I should stand back. I think he is worried I could get run over, but the traffic on this main road is light (speaking relatively so this makes no sense). He continues to shout and points up. As my eyes follow I soon see a shower of red hot welding debris showering down from the building construction taking place over head.

I run!

There is no hoarding or warning signs, no official person allocated by the building contractor to warn people. The man is just a local who has noticed the activities. It occurs to me that Bangladesh is a dangerous place. Just walking down the road is hazardous. All day we have been climbing over paving slabs and jumping over broken drainage covers without a thought. Now I recall hearing once that people falling into manholes is common cause of death here. I wonder if this could be true…

After haggling with a few rickshaw drivers we establish the going rate and jump in. We are heading to Kawran Bazaar with the intension of locating Bottomley House and taking a leisurely walk back to the hotel to discover the local area.

On arrival we pull up next to a cart where a group of girls appear to be greatly enjoying a treat. We enquire what’s these are and decide it must be worth a go as the stand is so popular. The man serves us a plate of mini puri’s filled with daal and topped with onion and lime rind salad in dressing. They are delicious. We’ve never tried these before. When the treats are all gone, we look up to discover we are outside Bottomley House Orphanage and decide that we should casually drop in as we are there.

We knock on the big heavy metal gate of this compound. Sometime later a person arrives and let’s us in. They explain that the sisters are attending church.

We say we will wait.

The person disappears and we sit in the tranquil court yard which feels a million miles away from the world beyond. A group of young girls appear and curiously watch us as we wait. We can hear laughter and we watch as the older girls walk freely and happily through the corridors.

At our meeting with the nuns they explain that they are very thankful for our visit and have been eagerly awaiting our arrival. They express gratitude for the donation of the desks, tables, beds and bedding provided by The Orphan Trust. They say that they are now struggling to meet the running costs of the Orphanage and would be grateful for any support that we could offer to purchase basic items of food.

Later we meet the girls in their classroom. They welcome us warmly and show familiarity and excitement at the mention of Mina. Their happy carefree and polite nature becomes contagious and we are filled with a sense how lovely a sanctuary this orphanage is.

By Sofena Choudhury

Leave a Reply

coolessay discount code
essay mama discount code