(Original Post Creation Date)
Wednesday, 06:51 PM
I am currently writing this post inside the car…literally on the road, stuck in the middle of heavy Dhaka traffic.
My working day just finished, and now I am on my way back to the hotel which is just after the second intersection, less than 1 kilometer away from the office. But due to the terrible traffic condition, I think it would take us, roughly around 30 – 45 minutes before we can reach the hotel.
For the past few days, I was nothing but depressed. Why?
Perhaps, it was because of my hormones? But the answer is “No…”
Actually my system cannot believe that I am in this city. How to describe it?
Let me get into that in a little while…
All I know was that I was unhappy and was struggling with the harsh environment.
Dhaka city is over populated (much like Manila I guess).
The traffic situation particularly in the area where I stay is just soooo bad! I even tell my client that they, the people who live in this city must be very patient. One must possess a tremendous amount of patience while traveling on the road. Otherwise, anger and impatience might consume him and he will eventually go crazy.
I was shocked when I first came here. I even cried because I couldn’t take it.
The first two days, my only thoughts were:
- That I was unsafe and the people in the streets might harm me
- The bystanders might break the car mirror and door
- The people look scary and cannot be trusted
- That I will likely meet an accident or get hit by a big bus
Emotionally, I was really not prepared. I felt threatened. I wanted to immediately go back to Dubai… 😦
But today, it feels a bit different. I’m quite emotional in a strange kind of way.
I suddenly get teary eyed while watching the locals pedaling their heavy rickshaws…while I observe the vendors selling stuffs on the sidewalks, the children walking barefoot along the busy and dirty streets, the old lady asking for alms, the white-haired grandfather pushing his fully-loaded cart…
It is a vision of suffering… It is depressing.
I am no longer threatened. My fear changed to pity.
I must not complain. I am not in the position to complain.
If I am having a hard time then how about these people on the streets?
And so today, as I nearly approach the weekend, I consider this assignment, a very humbling experience.
For the past few years, I have been living a comfortable, pampered life…
When I travel, I stay in five star hotels, fly in business class (but not all the time), eat in fancy restaurants, wear signature brands, buy what I wanted… just because I can, and that my work also allows me to.
Now for this assignment, it is totally not the case.
I’m not sure how many stars this hotel has, and I definitely did not see any fancy restaurants yet. I did not travel in business class, there are no malls to do shopping, and what I wear doesn’t matter at all.
As I travel slowly, in a snail-like pace along the streets of Dhaka, I witnessed how the locals struggle to make a living. This made me remember my good old days…where I came from, where and how I grew up… when I almost stopped studying because my parents can no longer support me…when we do not have the money to pay school fees. When my siblings and I, just share a can of corned beef, or sometimes, just eat a mixture of rice and salt, and then that’s it. I was not born rich. I belong to a very poor family who also struggled to make ends meet way back then. I experienced living with different families so that I can continue studying…
And to think of where I am now…what I have become, what I own, and what I have achieved… I’m speechless. Sometimes, when I talk to my close friends, I tell them, I still cannot believe that I am where I am now, that I am doing what I do.
And all these…, I owe all to Him…
These are all because of God’s endless grace and generosity…
Living in this city for the past few days made me appreciate more what I already have…
Even the car I am currently in, the driver who drives for me.
The hotel where I am staying, the food I eat, the clothes I wear,
The work I do. The house I own, my family, my friends, my pets…everything.
God has blessed me a lot and I believe that through my work assignment now, I will be of service to the local people even if its indirectly…I am giving back to Him by utilizing and sharing my abilities and knowledge to the people of this city… I am still contemplating. I’ve been aiming to help alleviate the living condition of the poor people I see around not only here but in every place I go to. But at the same time, I feel helpless because I can only do so little.
Tonight, I will pray for them, instead of seeing them as threats to my safety.
I will also pray for my personal struggles, not only financially, but emotionally.
Of course I should still not let my guards down, and be complacent. I still have to be careful. But knowing that the Lord will guide me and keep me safe, I will now rest my heart and mind from worrying too much (maybe just a little..) Because whatever will happen to me is out of my control, it’s His.
Lastly, I realized that maybe because I was praying for patience that God has finally answered me, in a funny, sarcastic, contestable way. But that’s how it is, right? We cannot ask for patience, and then the next day, we already have it. It takes time. Just like Dhaka’s traffic, patience requires a tremendous amount of time. 😀
And yes, since it takes time, He might have considered this city as the perfect place for patience to grow inside me. This is where and how I can learn it well.
So as they say… Experience is the best teacher.
We gain something even if we thought that there is nothing. 🙂