From Dhaka Team in the field.
A Trip To Dubai.
1st Day: 4rd Nov.2008
After long flight we arrived at 12:03 at Dubai Airport. It is a big airport. We were so surprise to see Founder of the Dhaka project was waiting for pick up us at outside. We also surprised because with her our two favorite volunteers Florence, Solange were waiting for us. It was a warmful welcome for us we was so surprised. Then we went to Solange house. Mrs. Solange gives us free accommodation, food in her house. At 2:00 in the morning we went for nap. That day we wake up early in the morning, we was so tired that’s why we had a little late to go a school for presentation. At 7: 00 am we went to GEM school for our presentation. Even we don't know there is more than 600 students were waiting for giving us welcome.First Mr. John introduced us with all the audience in the auditorium. Then children sang a Bangla song. Introduced themselves , told their life in Dhaka. I introduced The Dhaka Project to others, then Maria gave a short speech about the Dhaka Project. All the kids and staffs of Gem School gave us claps for our noble work. Mr. John the headteacher arranged some little gift for our kids. Kids were so happy for getting the present. Mr. John and all the teachers will try to help for fundraising, or any kind of donations.Then children went to each and every classroom, introduced with other children, made friendship with them that was a nice day for our kids (Mosharaf, Sujon, Sabina, Anonnya).
After that we went to Emirates Headquarter. There we met with Nurul Islam who was in the slums of Dhaka now he is working at Emirates. The Dhaka Project got a job for him there. He was so surprised to see us. He is so happy with his job. Then we met with Mr. Jimmy Kotwal who is helping a lot for our monthly expenses money 45000 AED from Emirates Airline Foundation. He is smiling, well-behaved, cool man, Maria introduced us to him, We thanked him for helping us. There we met other two emirates staff who are helping us also.
Then we had a little snack at Emirates café. There we met with Dr. Normy. One of our big supporters. He was so happy to see us. Dr. Normy introduced us to his Emirates Airline clinic staff. Then Dr. Normy Gave us free tickets to go in Ski Dubai.Then we went to Maria’s house to take some clothes because we needed some Shorts and T- shirts for the Beach; in the afternoon we had scheduled to go in Jumeirah beach we went straight to Chilis Restaurant near Jumeirah Beach. There Captain Mr. Manuel, Sharon, Lucky Stars, Tony French, Alex, Tanvir, Journalists of Khaleej Times were waiting for us to have there lunch with us. Then the journalists of Khaleej times interviewed us. Tony French gave us tickets for Wild Wadi and 100 dirhams for each kids. We had to wait for Nurul Islam because he supposed to join us there. At last he came. then another Volunteer Mike took us to Jumeirah Beach, another volunteer Jane Kammage waited to take us to dinner and Ski Dubai till we finished our shower at beach. Kids enjoyed the beach because they never had been to a sea beach before they told “ Sir, We are so lucky for here because we have never been to any beach in Bangladesh.”After shower Jane Gammage took us to Emirates Mall, there her daughter Kimberly and her son Mattew were waiting for us. Kim was so happy to see kids. She was waiting from first day to meet with us. First they took us for Ski, there we had so much fun. In Bonn we missed snow but here in Dubai we got Ice, snow, ski things look interesting me. Then there we met with Mr. Bon, and then we all together went for dinner. It was an Indian restaurant. We liked the food, we missed that food for a long time, after that we had Ice cream still I miss that. After saying goodbye to Kim, Bonn, Mrs. Jane gave us a lift to Solange house. Before nap every night we had to take shower because it was too hot in Dubai.
Day 2: 5th November:
We had a busy day on that day. We had our breakfast to Solange house then we went to Al Fada school. There we got a warmful welcome by 700 students of that school. They all were waiting for us in their auditorium to listen to our kid’s speech. We did a presentation same like others. They were so happy to hear the
speech from children. They thanked Maria for giving this opportunity to the kids of slum and making these difference. They also thanked to all staff and teachers and me for teaching nicely and looking after them.
Then the head teacher gave some presents to our kids. At 10:30am we went to Clarins office; there we met with our big supporter Rania Turk who is helping us a lot. Smiling she welcomed us then arranged some snacks for us and gave gift boxes to the children and also gave us tickets to Dubai Atlantis.
At 12 PM we went to Dubai British School. Our volunteer Kimberly showed us around the schools and each classroom and introduced us to every teacher, her classmates and also with other students.
Kimberly is one of heart giving supporter of TDP. Before our arrival there she and her classmates did some presentation and activities for our fund raise and the donated money they handed to Maria. We had a great time with Kim and the Students of Dubai British School.Then Florence came at 2:30 PM and picked us up for the Safari. It was an amazing afternoon for us. She took us for a long drive from city to desert where we had seen a nice sight of this Arabian country. In the Safari we rode on camels which was a different experience for me and the children. We never thought that we had a chance to ride on camel.
There we have seen falcons. Children were so curious to touch the falcons. There was a man who showed us how they hunt falcon, how they attached satellite signal machine, what is their food which is so interesting. After that we went to a show called “Jumana” with Florence and Atif . Before that we had our dinner we were special guests there, so it was a very special care for us. Florence friends Shumach and Gerhard arranged everything for us. The show was about a Arabic story with nice laser special effects and acrobatic dance and ended with drama there were fireworks which was designed by former Olympic firework designer which was fantastic and unbelievable.
Day 3: November 6th
6:30 we went to Jabel Ali school. We arrived a little late. There one of heart giving volunteers and our big supporter from beginning Sharon de Souza received us. We joined their assembly. The students of Jebel Ali School welcomed us with some activates. Maria, me and 4 of our children said thanks to all teachers and students because they did a lot of fundraise for us every year and also they donate lots of stationary items like pens, panicles, books, copies, toys, cloths every year for our children.We gave a special thanks to Lucky Stars (Sharon’s two little girls and one boy) who are working so hard for our fundraising from the beginning of the project.
Then Maria took us to Wild Wadi ( it is a water theme park in Dubai). We were happily entered in the park but we felt so shy to see the other visitors dressed so small. There we had lots of funny water ride. For few hours I lost my children because they were so excited, they rode one by one even I could not follow all of them. I was running to look for them sudden a time I got them and took them for lunch.
At 3 PM Solange came and took us to Maria then we all together went to 7days office, there we met with 7days editor Mr. Ali, and journalist Mr. Paul McLennan, there we had a Interview with them. After that Maria and Solange took us to Ski Dubai.
Marcelo was waiting for us. There we had another interview with Mr. Adrian Murphy, news reporter of Emirates Business 24/7, We had a great time in Dubai Ski. Children were lost in fun. After that we met with Capt. Mr. Marcelo’s Father. Also we met with Florence, Jodi and her friend Khuki; they were waiting to go for dinner with us. Then two of our volunteers Anas and Mirium arrived. I was just surprised to see all of them because they did a great voluntary work at the project. Specially I was so surprised to see Miriam and Anas.
We all together had a big dinner sponsored by Anas after that dinner Miriam gave some gift to me and children, Anas gave me a T- shirt of Adidas which I like very much because my favorite is Adidas. Then Khuki and Jodi took us for Ice cream, it was so delicious.
Day 4: 7th November
It was a relaxable day in Solange house for us because it was Friday holiday. At 10 AM we went to Dubai Mall with Solange, there was a big line at the entrance and we had to wait a long for the entrance.One of the Volunteers Mr. John, who gave us 1,500 AED for over staying and the ticket of new Aquarium where we saw lots of sea fish which was out of our imagination because we never thought that we could see sharks and other sea animals.After that Solange took us back to her house. Solange arranged a special lunch for us, she was always missing us because every day we had school presentations or invitations by other volunteers that is why she wanted to keep us with her family for few moments.I have followed a true love for the children in her eyes. We had a great time with Solange son, husband and with her. At 5 PM Florence came to pick up us to Dubai Marina, after that she took us to her friend Margaret’s apartment where we watched a movie then had dinner at an Indian restaurant. We had a beautiful evening with Florence and Margaret at Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Day 5: 8th November
That was our last day in Dubai. So, we felt that we were missing our overseas life. We packed everything, Maria arranged all the baggage of donations which we were being taken with us to Dhaka and also she gave some instructions on what we could carry with us and what we couldn’t in the flight.After that we went to Palm Jumeirah, the place we liked most. It is an artificial island, in middle of the island there is Atlantis Hotel. It is one of the most expensive restaurants in Dubai. Inside of that restaurant there is an Aquarium full of sea fish, after that Solange took us the most gorgeous and expensive restaurant in Atlantis. Lunch cost was 1000 AED but she didn't care, she was always saying she was happy and glad for got and met with us.At 11 PM Maria and Solange took us to the airport for our departure. It was a shocking moment for Maria and Solange. All way to our depurture I followed Maria and Solange sad face for losing us. Maria gave me the direction of Immigration and what to do, always giving instruction how I could go back safely with the kids and baggage at Dhaka Airport and always said “if there is any problem just call me I will stand here till you cross immigration”. Then the last moment they (Maria, Solange) was hugging the kids and crying it looked to me as we were leaving a family. Maria always telling me “Jewel look after my kids. Look after my kids”. I felt so sad to see tear in her eyes. They were waiting till we crossed our immigration. Always looked sad on her face were we ok or not?
Next day at 8:55 our flight landed at Dhaka Airport. We all were so curies to see our family though it took long time for our baggage; customs tried to make some trouble but I made them understand about the donation for charity inside the luggage. At least we came out with all of our luggage safely. Even we didn’t know, Mr. Azad, Munna and Shimul and kids parents were waiting for us for pick up. We felt so happy and free to get back in our family and the country.
I had a great experience in my life with this trip. I learned lot of things like different nations, countries, cultures, nature. I feel so proud to be with the children and have this chance. I felt those couple of days in children's eyes curios to know, to learn, to discover the world. This is the thing we need to build up in each of every kids' mind so they will not lose their talent they will be alive day to day.
I would like to thank again all the volunteers in Dubai who were giving us company and sponsoring us to see lots of places and monuments and gave us gifts and donations.
Uncountable Thanks to Maria Conceicao the founder of The Dhaka Porject, Florence Calvet, Solange and her husband Manuel, Sharon de Souza, Manuel de Souza, Rania Turk, Dr. Normy Ahmed, Mr. Jimmy Kotowal, Marcelo Taborda, Jane Gammage, Kimberly Gammage, Tony French, Alex, Tanvir Shah, Emirates Airline Foundation, Gems School, Dubai British School, Al Fada School, Jabel Ali School, Jumana show team. Miriam, Anas, Jodi, Khuki. Mr. John and all other volunteers who are supporting us a lot !