Published: October 10th 2010October 10th 2010
The time has come for me to write a blog from the heart about the poverty of this country. If you think you'll feel sick over my gushing sentiments - look away now.
Ok, for all of you brave enough to stay on. I spent my Saturday morning at the Nurture Hospital and School just on the coast about an hour west of where i'm living. My journey there took me through some of the poorest areas of the city. I took a load of pictures along the journey just to show how horrendous the lives of some of these people are. I saw kids as young as 4 or 5 being used as rubbish sorters - basically they would clamber through piles of stinking rubbish to find anything that could be recycled. I imagine they would then sell it on to recycling companies for a pittance. Then there were the men working with blow torches and other pretty dangerous tools, with no safety at all, breaking apart rusting pipes and tubes. There were the people living in makeshift shacks alongside the railway tracks, peddling their wares to anyone they could find. And finally, as i drew closer to the
hospital, there were the ramshackle metal huts next to stagnant, and probably seriously dangerous, water supplies.
As i came into the hospital to teach some of the poorest children in the area, i asked for a tour of the facility. It is a hospital specialising in the care of people in all stages of paralysis - from single limb to full body. It does some fantastic work, and manages to get a doctor from the Medical College to perform operations, but it is in need of many more things. I saw the surgical ward, and whilst it was well maintained and had some good facilities, it clearly needed more. I came away from that room feeling totally sad; for the people who had to suffer with such horrible injuries in a country where disabled access and help is an impossibility. And, for the fact that i knew in the UK these people would be cared for tremendously and some of them could have been cured. If you want to complain about the NHS, come to Bangladesh and to this tiny hospital run entirely on voluntary funds, you will see how lucky we are.
Luckily the trip was not
fully depressing, but gave me some hope. The lady who runs the hospital and school; what an incredible person, providing the best medical care that she can with limited funds, and helping young people become educated whilst providing them with one hot meal a day. The children i taught. Poor and underfed, yes, but happy, innocent and wonderful. Hearing their rendition of 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat' (which i taught them) was fantastic. And finally, though all these people suffered daily with the hardships of a poor life, they all seemed contented and happy and willing to do whatever they could to provide a better life for their families.
Compared with the opulence of military and government areas in the city, it is beyond belief that these people can be so poorly treated. It makes me want to find all the G8 and G20 leaders and take them to Nurture, just to show them what can be done with a small cash injection. How can we sit by and watch people suffer daily with the hardships of having no money.