Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All's Well That Ends Well...

As some of you already know I'm on a two month assignment in Bangladesh to continue the rehabilitation of the Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP) radio network. This time I'm traveling with Tom Worthington who has left his island paradise of Maui to work on this project. It's good having someone to share the experience with. His vast knowledge of HF and VHF radio communication will be invaluable.

Cute story - I'd hoped Tom and I'd be able to fly out together or, meet at an asian hub and enter Bangladesh together. Instead, our flights had me fly through Hong Kong and Tom through Japan. I was scheduled to arrive in Dhaka at 12:00pm and Tom at 2:00am. United Airlines to the rescue! After boarding the flight from Chicago to Hong Kong (15 hours) they announce a ground delay due to a cockpit panel that needed replacing (it took 2 hours). In Hong Kong my flight was rescheduled through Bangkok - right onto the same flight from Bangkok to Dhaka that Tom was on! Exhausted, we arrived in Dhaka right on schedule and, with all our luggage. Thanks United!

In Dhaka they x-ray the luggage before you clear customs. Tom had two cases of radio equipment, tools, etc., and I had a supply case, along with two other cases of personal equipment and gear. One of the customs agents asked, “Are you Engineers?” I explained we were with the Red Cross, he nodded, spoke to his compatriots and said no more. We were in. Next we found the hotel shuttle bus and by 3:30am we were finally in our rooms.

That afternoon after catching up on some badly needed sleep, we went to the Red Cross/Red Crescent compound. After preliminary introductions Tom was given a tour of the radio setup. Then that evening Sajit Menon invited us to his home for a wonderful dinner (Sajit is our project leader and project coordinator for all of the American Red Cross efforts on CPP) and so ended a good first day.

We’ll probably be in Dhaka this week then we'll head down into the delta region to visit all six CPP zones. We’ll begin radio rehabilitation and training of CPP technical staff to continue the work after we're gone. We will also be training CPP radio operators how to use and maintain their equipment.

Stay tuned for more...

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