Monday, October 20, 2008

Story of the month

"We haven't seen any foreigners before. They have come from afar helping us re-build our shelters that were destroyed during Cyclone Sidr. Our children are very happy seeing and being with them (the foreigner volunteers). It is a wonderful experience seeing their passion for poor people" says 40 year old Ismail Gazi of Mirzaganj village.

Like many in the area, Ismail Gazi engages in catching fish, rickshaw-pulling and basic plumbing, to contribute to his monthly income of Tk.4500, to support his family of seven.

Ismail Gazi 's wife Bakful Begum says, "Things got only worse (when the cyclone struck) as my husband was not at home when the wind started getting hard-hitting."

When Ismail made his way home, he saw the already flooded area suddenly swell up even more in the wake of Cyclone Sidr. He fell into a pond of water and clung onto a tree, struggling
to get to the house next door. But the surge of water was so strong that it carried him further away.

He described how he left his eldest son to his fate and told him to hang onto a tree strongly. Somehow he caught hold of his two younger sons and managed to take them to a safe place. "And the next time I returned to collect my elder one, I found him somehow hanging onto the tree. Allah just kept him alive. I still get terrified remembering that dreadful night" exclaimed Ismail Gazi.

He shudders to recollect the day he saw his house uprooted, poultry blown away, fishnets thrown and tangled and life turned into a mess.

Ismail is grateful that Habitat provided him with a silver lining on his rain cloud. He got a new home where he does not need to be worry about rain wetting him, even while inside the house. "I'm very glad to get this house," he says, "Before the cyclone; we used to stay in a broken house. My children are happy. Now they have a roof over them to shelter them with a healthy environment where they can read and write."

He further explains that it would have been nice if the structure
bore an add-on of a verandah so that they could have a nice place to sit down, chit-chat and watch the rain fall.

Ismail 's wife Bakful Begum says, "An adjacent toilet will be very helpful; my children and I do not have to go here and there to find a toilet."

Ismail Gazi desires to see the anguish of people around him melt away in the same way his life has taken such a pleasant turn. Thanks to Habitat, its donors and volunteers.

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