Entries in Bangladesh (19)
Our staff reports that several thousand people have been evacuated from the fishing villages along the coast, and news stories mention that as many as 500,000 people had been evacuated before the storm hit.
Tropical Cyclone Phailin is considered a severe storm, with winds well over 100mph; it is expected to dump at least 4-8 inches of rain in most areas. In strength and size, Phailin is considered comparable to Hurricane Katrina, and the area in which it made landfall is home to thousands who live in simple homes made of thatch and tin. Bangladesh is also receiving massive amounts of rain as the storm surges.
(The Medical Mercy team that was serving in India this week is departing from another region and is thus far unaffected by the storm.)
Please pray with us for the safety of the children and their families, for our staff who have families of their own, and for our projects that often become places of refuge in times like this.
You can help us respond to the crises wrought by storms such as Phailin by making a donation to our Children's Crisis Fund. Every donation helps us meet the immediate needs of families devastated by disasters and illnesses.
Thank again for your prayers, and for your partnership for the benefit of the children!
Muslims around the world are preparing to celebrate the beginning of Ramadan. If you sponsor a child with a Muslim background, what does that mean for daily life?
If you want to pray for an issue that affects your sponsored child’s quality of life, one of the best things you can pray for is their parents’ jobs.
Many adults in the developing world work in jobs that are considered part of the “informal economy” – they may work as a street vendor or day laborer, working in an unofficial capacity, using whatever money they earn to feed their families.
We’ve learned a lot about what drives Bangladesh’s industrial economy since the collapse of a multi-story garment factory that claimed over 1,100 lives. The images of family members waiting tearfully for news on loved ones were heartbreaking.
After the factory collapse, however, some attention was paid to the average wage earned by a garment worker – roughly $38 a month, or $456 a year, one of the lowest minimum wages in the world.
We prayed hard for those families, knowing that securing a job in a garment factory is often considered a boon for a family, because it provided a more stable source of income than the agricultural jobs most Bangladeshi’s work, especially in rural areas. It is accidents like these and the loss of a stable income that push many families into the crushing poverty we are trying to alleviate.
So how can you pray for those who also provide for your sponsored child?
- Pray for their health and safety as they work
- For jobs that provide a stable income
- For reasonable hours that allow them to see their children, especially if they work more than one job to try and make ends meet
- For the parents to value education (for many families, keeping a child in school means two less hands in the field to earn money, and it is difficult for them to see the long-term benefit of an education)
Be sure to check out this amazing gallery of Bangladeshis at work -- some of their skills will simply amaze you. We praise God that we can partner with these parents, helping them care for the children and improve their chances at a brighter future.
If you're having trouble viewing this slideshow, you can view the gallery separately here.
Less than a thousand miles from Cambodia, which we highlighted last week, lies a country with what would seem like many similarities -- Bangladesh has a colorful culture and a tumultuous history.
Considering that the region was settled as many as 4,000 years ago, the last 70 years have been nothing short of turbulent. Modern-day Bangladesh was created after the British Empire withdrew and partitioned two countries -- India and Pakistan -- based on religious distinctions in 1947.
Originally designated "East Bengal," the region we now know as Bangladesh was part of Pakistan; from the time of partition, however, clashes grew between the eastern, Bengali-speaking region and the more wealthy Urdu-speaking west. The next two decades were filled with repression and violent unrest, even after Bangladesh's independence was declared in 1971.
In the midst of such upheaval, the people of Bangladesh continued to live and work in one of the most unique regions of the world. Situated on the delta of three major rivers (the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna) as well as countless tributaries, Bangladesh has some of the most fertile soil in the world.
We'll explore more of Bangladesh this week, but before we do, take a look at some of the areas we serve and learn more about this fascinating country!
Bangladesh is a very small country (about the size of the state of Iowa) but it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. There are 156 million people who live in Bangladesh. Can you imagine that many people living in Iowa? That’s over 50 times more people in the same amount of land!
Not only is the population dense, but the landscape is too! This makes it so much harder to travel anywhere or build and maintain roads, bridges, and power lines. For example, one of our projects is a mere 50 miles from the capital city of Dhaka, and yet it takes several hours driving in a truck and an hour boat ride to get there from the capital.
Bangladesh is a low-lying country and very wet as you can see from most of these photos. Cyclones and monsoons are so frequent that a large amount of the country is flooded six months out of the year.
Farming is a main source of income for many of our children’s families but their fields are also flooded half of the year. During that time these farmers have to find another way to feed their families and earn an income.
And because water is everywhere, so are bridges.
Does your sponsored child walk to school? Chances are that he walks over several bridges just to get to school. Can you imagine using a bridge like the one above everyday?
Speaking of water… does your sponsored child have the responsibility of getting water for the family? In Bangladesh indoor plumbing is very rare and children usually get their water from nearby wells or rivers and carry it home.
Or maybe your sponsored child helps the family by washing clothes, fishing, or gathering firewood?
Have the letters you received from you child given you an inside look at what life is like in Bangladesh? Let us know! We'd love to hear what you've learned!
In the coming weeks you should receive a Christmas card from your sponsored child, and on it will be Christmas wishes in their own hand. We love this time of year because you can see the anticipation of Christmas in the children's heartfelt wishes.
But very few of the children in our programs speak English -- so what do their Christmas wishes look like?
In most of the countries in which we work, the language spoken does not use a Latin or Roman alphabet such as what we use in English or what many of the countries in Africa or Central America use above.
Yet the result is just as beautiful. Several countries, such as the Philippines and India, have regions that use different languages or dialects, which are represented below.
And then there's the Middle East, where Christ and the Christmas season was born. What wonderful wishes!
It's a bit early to wish you a Merry Christmas, but we can't help getting in the spirit!
When we are in a country that has values different from what we believe in, we need to begin to understand our purpose: to serve, to be humble and to be compassionate. To all. Regardless.
How bad does it have to get for us before we throw in the towel?
When people have so little, how do you know if you made a difference? Is it in the first aid training, the water filter, the medications? Or is it something else entirely?
Today was a sucessful day for the medical team in Bangladesh. The medicines finally arrived and what's even better is that they were able to get them into the country without paying any fees! Isn't it amazing how God always comes through for his people?
The internet is slow and inconsistent, but Dr. Beyda was able to send us a short update on how today's clinics went.
Six vehicles, 30 people, one and a half hour ride and a river crossing by ferry, is how we started the day today. Chalna is an isolated community that hasn't seen medical care in over 15 years. The children were malnourished, some sickly, but all were laughing and smiling nonetheless. Prayer was the order for the children.
It was for us as well. A Hindu woman came to Christ, others heard, and wondered if we really were who we said we were. Servants. And we served. 200 medical patients, 19 dental patients (it takes a while to extract teeth; Dr. Bob and Diane were at it constantly). Public health education, dental hygiene, water filtration system training, first aid training, nutritional assessments, medical examinations, and dental work were all being done simultaneously with the team taking on all facets of health intervention and training in a distant remote village in the southern part of Bangladesh. A ballet of sorts, one continuous act, and an encore.
We came to a village and within 6 hours left them with a chance for a better life. A bold, ambitious undertaking, and perhaps a little glorified, but it worked. There is nothing better than the see the smile after something is given freely and taken freely as well, no strings attached. Unconditional love I believe it's called.
In all things give thanks,
Thank you for your prayers for the team so far- keep them coming!
Please keep the Medical Mercy team in your prayers! They are having a very rough start as they begin their work in Bangladesh this week. Dr Beyda shared the following on his blog:
So much for blogging good news. This will be short just to give you an idea of what has happened, what is happening and what will happen. Short synopsis: we left Phoenix for Chicago, picked up the rest of the team, left Chicago for Abu Dhabi, drained the fuel tanks on the plane there due to head winds, stopped in Kuwait to refuel, got to Abu Dhabi late, missed our connecting flight to Dhaka, got a flight to Karachi, Pakistan in order to catch another flight to Dhaka, (or we could of stayed in Kuwait overnight...who wanted to do that-not!), got to Karachi, connecting flight to from Karachi to Dhaka delayed, spent 10 hrs in a transit area in Karachi, finally getting to Dhaka after leaving Phoenix 42 hours earlier, and got all our luggage but none of the 15 boxes of meds and supplies (almost 800 lbs of needed stuff). That's it. Done. Nothing we can do about it.
The team spent the night in Dhaka and left early this morning for a 6 hour drive to the first clinic with the dental stuff, public health education stuff, nutritional assessment stuff, a few pills here and there that team members had in their personal belongings and stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs. They are going to run a clinic as best they can. I on the other hand am still in Dhaka waiting to go back to the airport this afternoon to see if the meds come in on the next flight. If they do, I make an 8 hour drive to the south of Bangladesh to catch up with the team sometime very late tonight. If the meds don't arrive....well, I don't really know what I'm going to do. The troubles we've seen. The anxiety of it all. The unexpected. The not knowing. It is what it is. And with all that I still say, in all things give thanks.
Trying to keep all of your group members engaged in child sponsorship can be tricky. And yet with a little creativity, you can find ways to include everyone – including your sponsored child – in this unique ministry.
Water affects so much of your child's life -- is there enough to wash up before school? Is it safe to drink? Can I go out and play? What season is your sponsored child experiencing right now, and what does that mean for daily life?
Children love games – this is no secret. Often in letters from your sponsored child, you’ll hear that your child loves to play a particular game or sport. But what do those games look like?
The goal of any Mission of Mercy program is to equip children in developing nations to reach their God-given potential. So how does that work in our schools?
If you sponsor a child, especially a boy, odds are you’ve read that his favorite sport is football. Is that the same as soccer? Why do we call it soccer, anyway?