Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

Maybe it’s just me, but…

Today is Saturday, which is really like a Sunday here (as Sunday is really Monday here etc) and there are currently 2 unidentified men in our bathroom with power tools ripping tiles off the walls. At 9am. Needless to say I am well pissed off. First and foremost, the safety issue. Two random men bang on our door with power tools, and somehow they are given access to do as they wish in our flat. Who are these men? Who sent them? Why were not told they are coming? How do we know what they are really here doing? We’re 5 females (and 1 guy) in a flat with Bangla expertise that extends to ‘Can I buy a bottle of water’ and being able to catch, direct and pay for a rickshaw to our Bangla language school (Ok, we can say other stuff, but nothing remotely useful in these circumstances). They’re two guy who have no English. Communication is impossible. But some smart arse decided to let them in anyway. ‘I don’t know who you are, I don’t know what you’re saying, I don’t know what you’re planning to do, but sure, come on in, I’ll put the kettle on’….Ok, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on Tony, but I take my safety seriously, and I don’t really care who that may offend. Now at least one of us has to be in the flat as long as these men are here, which really means that has to be Tony as no female should be in a flat alone with two unidentified men, with or without power tools.

I’m frustrated as there can be a tendency amongst foreigners/westerners/northerns/whites (whatever the PC term is) to be so terrified of offending people in a developing country that unsafe decisions can be made….’but it might be culturally acceptable here to let strangers in, we don’t know how they do things here, maybe this is the cultural practice’… Blah blah fishpaste. My feeling safe in my own home (temporary or not) is non-negotiable.

Ok, rant over. Perhaps it’s the South African in me. You wouldn’t let unknown, unidentified people into your home in South Africa would you? Actually, for that matter, you wouldn’t do it in England either. So why do it here.

Secondly, now I have the added pleasure of listening to power drilling on my ‘Sunday’ morning. All I wanted was a nice relaxed morning in bed with my book and a cup of tea. Yes, I know, I’m just too rock and roll.

PS I have now calmed down and have already apologised for Tony for the potentially unfair berating I gave him earlier. I think we can still be friends.


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