Day 2 – Food and Sports

Food and Sports. Two words to sum up my first day and two things I absolutely love.

We started early after falling asleep around 8pm the night before yet waking continuously to car horns and prayer and myself sleep talking. But otherwise not too bad… amongst the buzzing of the odd mozzie that somehow made it through the net. First, one of the Physios, Rashid, showed us around the entire campus after we couldn’t decide what department we wanted to begin with, and I think we were a little blown away with choice. This place is like a TARDIS. At face value it seems there’s a physio section, an OT section and an outpatients. In reality, there is those sections of course but they’re extensively divided into sub-sections. We began with Neuro, then Stroke, onto MSK which consisted of 4 units, Hand Therapy, Spinal Cord Injury, Outpatients, their own version of Supported Discharge and Paediatrics. Then we were also shown the school of Nursing, Physio and OT Masters and the library, which, don’t get me wrong, I expect to find useful.

So, me and Aaliyah were tossing up our options and I wanted to go for something that I maybe wasn’t going to get to do at home. Granted, any of these departments would be an amazing in Bangladesh, so I couldn’t go too wrong. I decided to go for Spinal Cord Injury because I was sure that the types I might come across here would be fairly extensive compared to that which I might find in England when thinking in respect to the chaos they call simple traffic here. Aaliyah went for Neuro and then Paeds in her last 5weeks but I want to wait and see what I feel like in 5week’s time. You never know, might go niche with hand therapy.

I was dropped off at the SCI main office and Aaliyah went off to Neuro though I later found her at lunchtime chilling for the day because they’d told her to take the day off. In all honesty, I basically had a day off.

I got immediately dragged to a little cart selling rice and other bits and bobs and given a plate to start helping myself, only after I’d finished did they turn around and say that’s 12 taka please. This is nothing. This costs less than 1 penny, but my issue was, I had NO CASH and even if I did then I wouldn’t have that type of change! Now I looked awful for being like I have no money! Rich, English girl has no money! One of the physios kindly paid for me and I made sure I paid him back immediately after lunch. Then after a bit of sitting around and not knowing what was going on, someone came and got me and brought me to a Physio, Nasir, who was working with two patients at a time with strengthening exercises and I managed to jump in to help one of them very briefly. He was just at the end of the appointment, so we finished up pretty quickly.

‘Now we play.’ He said.

‘Right.’ I said, like I thought this was normal or he was joking or, well, I wasn’t sure.

‘We have a match this evening, you come?’

‘Yeah?’ Irisa had told us just to say yes to everything so, whatever it was I’d agreed to, it would probably still be good.

He smiled, ‘We play cricket in semi-final against team.’

‘Ahhhhhh.’ I was in.

Now we played practise cricket for an hour before lunch and I happily skipped back to Aaliyah looking forward to an afternoon of group therapy and sports.  Yep, I thought, This is the department for me. Chamilly had made us food again as we’d put a tick next to our names on the door which said if we wanted lunch or dinner or both and we’d gone for lunch today. Just like in Japan, I’d come to the country with all premonitions about food out the window so when Chamilly asked if we ate everything, all I could say was ‘Yep’. Aaliyah was quickly learning too when she commented on how spicy the meal was when in reality she’d eaten a green chilli mistaking it for a green bean. Everything was spicy, however. They put chilli in everything. And when I asked some others about it later, they said they couldn’t get enough of it.

Fast forwarding through my afternoon, I effectively was talked to by other physios during the group therapy session which effectively an exercise class with people in wheelchairs for various reasons. Then I sat around a bit again before being asked if I wanted to play table tennis, yes? Then I got asked if I wanted to play Volleyball, yes? I got pulled from that immediately though and taken to the office where they thrust a box of food upon me with a smiling face and didn’t even ask if I wanted to eat because, yes?

I went back to wheelchair volleyball where everyone was lined up along a low bar and then helpers or staff were lined up behind them as back up if the ball goes over the frontline’s heads. I’ve put a picture below.

My first day ended and I ran off to go get Aaliyah so we could go and watch the cricket.

They did it properly. Even on their pitch of about 50m across, they drew boundary and pitch lines using rope and what me and Aaliyah decided could be chalk or flour (whichever is cheapest?) and they had a commentator and one heck of a crowd. It seemed the entire community of CRP had come to have a nosy and said in the lightest way, less seats were needed because, well, everyone brought their own. We watched for a while the Medical Service Wards vs Physiotherapy so it’s clear which side we were supporting and then I was starting to drift off and Aaliyah was hungry.

We spent the rest of the evening shopping down the street and in the town centre with Irisa to show us around too. Going out at night wasn’t a problem so long as you were with a second person and we were three so I felt pretty good.

That was a very cut down version of day 2 and I’m currently sat with Irisa, Aaliyah and a new guy Dominic who had been before, the idea of an early night slowly becoming a part of my imagination. I think we’ll get along here just fine.

Wheelchair Volleyball
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