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On a boat

3 weeks in an office in Dhaka staring at this:

Oh yes I was off to another grand adventure. I have found its an odd idea but one common among expats that the message from home is always ‘I hope you are having a great time’. There is something blurred about the holiday and moving location for a job even in the way you explain yourself, finding that you block out the tedious meeting for the one hour when you did something fun at the weekend. To be fair not everyone in their work gets what is essentially a holiday to the Sundarbans, under the guise of ‘team-building’ with a little focus group time.

Team Fundraising assembled, we headed to the railway, which unfortunately was delayed by 3-4-6? Hours. Team Leader offered his place as a comfortable waiting spot, so wine drinking in the world bank flat was our first port of call. Very fancy- yes my boss was a sell out but couldn’t blame him, one of the most peaceful places I’d been in Dhaka. The train was pretty comfy, but AC in this country means being put in sub-zero temperatures, so I was glad of my sleeping bag. Khulna is the project’s other base, a medium sized place, quieter than Dhaka, lots more open space with some nice patches of greenery (I was going to have to find any excuse to work from here!). And the office in Khulna is so relaxed, people chat, work from sofas and light is allowed in the room rather than horrendous blocking blinds I’ve found everywhere: Dhaka was looking more grim by the second.

We picked up the boat at Khulna port and started the journey down passing village after village on the wide stretch of water: so inhabited! Chadpai was our first stop and the first focus group. I had missed social science! The idea of the trip was to scope out viability of ecotourism as a viable fundraising stream for the sundarbans people. I felt at home with this kind of work, organizing the questions in a logical but non threatening way, rephrasing, ensuring we are coving all bases of information: oh yes! As the only one on the team with experience of this kind of research I had a feeling of purpose that I hadn’t really had up until this point: it’s something of a personal interest livelihood generation and the positive possible effects of conservation of habitat, and here I was, in an incredibly unique and threatened habitat, actually able to explore those options with the possibility that they might become a reality. This time last year I was working in a pub!

Anyway as I don’t want to witter on too much about the work side of things uploaded is the video I made for our fundraising presentation the WTB team on our return: (click on me :)

The most amazing bits were seeing river ganges dolphins where rivers meet, lieing on your back travelling down the narrow channels with forest enclosing you both sides and the night sky peaking through with fireflies and shooting stars, meeting some fantastically interesting and welcoming people, getting the FR boys into some bird watching, being told daily the percentage chance of being eaten if I swim (crocodile, tiger, shark) by our head of VTRTs, the longest most hilarious game of eye spy helped along with a bottle of vodka, crabs fresh from the river, and becoming Steven Spielberg with my camera work in a matter of days. Was bloody brilliant!

The BEST holidays

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