Third diary entry for the Disability Awareness Documentary Project in Bangladesh

It’s difficult to get a handle on the week when Thursday and Friday are the W/E and Sat. and Sun. normal working days. Today is Saturday but feels much more like Monday!! The plan is to do lots more ‘camera training’ and the emphasis now is on focusing. Each student is to take six wide shots of three different views from the same position – one focusing on something near the camera and one on something further away. It sounds dull, but the group manage to make each pair of shots into a little drama with a face in one position expressing one emotion and a face in other expressing something quite different. They used a ball, a flower and a letter for their props. They enjoyed it and so did I, though the two shots inadvertently taken of me didn’t look like it!

At 3.00 we reassembled to look at the mornings work on the computer. Nothing is simple is it? And this wasn’t. In the end we watched them direct from the camera to the TV. Their shots were steady, the horizontals and verticals pretty good but the “distant” focus was not good and it turned out the automatic focus had been left on and had been over- riding all their efforts! A mistake but not a disaster at this stage – I preached a short sermon based on the text that “we learn more thro’ our mistakes than our successes”. No-one was convinced.

The evening, which started at 4.30, was very long and hot. I wandered round the bazaar, bought some fried cookies, read, visited Poppy who is worried about my relationship with God. She thinks I am angry with Him. I’m not. Though looking around CRP where every patient represents a tragedy for the individual and for the family I do feel depressed and perplexed.

A lousy night. It’s better to go to bed exhausted and I wasn’t. Heat and mosquitoes and the constant rattle of the fan don’t help. But I have no health problems. I never do in Bangladesh. Simple food – rice, dhal, veg. curry, bananas and lots of tea suit me well. I bought a papaya but it was rock hard and inedible so I gave it to Poppy’s Aya who will cook it. Elspeth bought a pineapple, which was OK but certainly didn’t have the honey dripping sweetness that we had hoped for. But each evening at about 5.00 the stalls outside CRP are selling special little deep fried savoury goodies, which I think, are for people to have as soon as the sun goes down to ‘break the fast’. They are very tasty and help to make up for the fact that the morning tea trolley isn’t coming round during Eid with it’s supplies of somosa and chingri.

Elspeth, Ester and Sandra and I made a plan to go to the National monument after work. We set off promptly in two Rickshaws to go to Savar and pick up either a bus or auto-rickshaw. The chain fell off Ester and Elspeths’ Rickshaw and we never made contact again! Sandra and I rather lost heart after waiting a while so we meandered around Savar and across the bridge over the road. I t was a ghastly walk but once started we were propelled on by the force of bodies. The bridge was lined with beggars suffering with every sort of crippling deformity. It was like a nightmare freak show. We will never, ever go that way again.

On a brighter note, I bought some hair slides and bangles as little Eid presents for Joyti and Poppy and the film crew. Is it a little cooler? Possibly.

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