The irony of trying to ‘be safe’

Hello from Dhaka!

The first three weeks of my placement with Friendship have flown.

After the last minute hiccoughs getting my visa I have made it safe and sound and am settling into life in Bangladesh.

The plan was to have written a few mini-blog posts with various photos over the weekend however events conspired against me…

Last week there were four continuous days of country-wide hartals (political protests) related to the sentencing of the leader and senior officials from the Islamist Jaamat Shibir party on convictions of war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War. Thankfully the area where I live and work is in the diplomatic zone (colloquially known as the ‘tri-state’) so is protected from unrest. The flip side, however, is that the streets have been particularly quiet, especially so as it is currently Ramadan, and reports of muggings and attacks on expats have increased.

The plan: to avoid losing my phone (my most expensive possession) I decided that, rather than keep it in my shoulder bag on the rickshaw, I’d sit on it so that, if the worst happened, all any thieves might get would be a pair of glasses and a key. You can guess the rest! Yes, in trying to juggle wrapping up the plastic sheeting (it was pouring with rain), collecting my umbrella and negotiating the fare – an art I have yet to quite master – I left my phone on the seat, never to be seen again.

At least, with the wonders of modern technology very little was lost – apart from, of course, all the photos I had taken of my experience so far! I have now ensured that auto-sync to Dropbox is fully operational.

So, for this post you will have to make do with a view from the balcony of my room. I have been lucky enough to find a flatshare with two French guys in a lovely quiet street (more to come in future posts about the cacophony that is Dhaka) overlooking Gulshan lake. It is also fantastically close to the Nordic club which, thanks to my Norwegian passport, I have been able to join. Lucky for me it’s supposed to be one of the best clubs in Dhaka 🙂

Khoda haphej,



  1. HI Kari, Great first blog. Seems you are settling right in to a PULSE volunteer’s life. Such are the challenges that make us all appreciate our conveniences at home. And lovely that you are sharing a flat with two guys! What great odds! I hope all is well and the assigment is offering you many ways to apply your great talents and stretch your wings. Looking forward to reading more along the way.

  2. HI! Great to hear about your experience in Dhaka. The view looks awesome. Must be an incredible contrast to what is the real Bangladesh (I have been there so I know!).
    How have you settled down? Were the Stiefel Bangladesh folks of any help? If you meet them, please send them my regards.
    I just got an out of office from me and hence looked up your blog. Had sent you the following article link from FT :
    which reminded me of our attempt at EasyWhite for EU….
    Do keep in touch…

    Sameer Desai

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