A chance encounter

I shared this already with my friend Barb and thought it might be interesting for the blog. We had an almighty storm here in Dhaka yesterday afternoon, and although I had a brolly with me, it was a deluge.  I spotted a cafe and stepped inside to get myself a soda water and wait for the rain to stop.   I spotted a Bangladeshi man walking with a glass of coke over to a table and just before he got to it, a women dashed in ahead of him, grabbing the table he was going for.  He stood bewildered for a moment, caught my eye, I smiled and he headed over to my table and asked if I could share the table with him.   We got talking about manners and what he could have done about it.  He suggested hitting her over the head with his wet brolly.  I laughed and told him he did not look the aggressive type.  He told me he was a Buddhist (a minority in Bangladesh btw) and so he could have mindfully bashed her with his brolly, not wishing any further malice to her and that would make it OK.   I laughed from my toes!  Thankfully he laughed too.  We humans can rationalize anything eh??   Soon after we finished our cold drinks, the rain stopped and we went on our separate ways. I just loved that encounter.  In the midst of all the warnings of dangers for me here in Dhaka, humanity is alive and well I am glad to report.

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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4 Responses to A chance encounter

  1. Grace Coffey says:

    Fabulous encounter – May it be the first of many! Xx

  2. Kate TP says:

    Kate, I hope you are able to have many more of these encounters. So humanizing after so many dire warnings about safety and security for you.

  3. Debra Walsh says:

    Kate, that is so heartening! And I love that the humour in it was not lost for both of you!

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