Helping the Cyclone Victims – “If Only I Could” turns into “Finally I Have”

Where would I be if I wasn’t here? There is no where else I would want to be than right here, right now. Too often I’ve witnessed tragedies unfold over the TV screen. Witnessed people who are too poor to fend for themselves die and suffer. I would often curse myself under my breath – “if only” I would say. “If only” I had been there – I could have done something. “If only” I could save just one life – it would be worth it. No more do I have to say “if only”. Now I can say “finally”.

For better or worse I’ve been given a chance to make a difference. That difference starts today. Just minutes a ago a BRAC jeep (BRAC stands for the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee – the world’s largest Non-Government Organization) came and picked up 70 blankets to go to Bagarat (near or in Khulna). “How did you get so many blankets so quickly?” a BRAC director asked me. “I bought them to give away in the first place – I just never expected to have to give them like this” I explained.

70 blankets seems like a lot – but at the same time isn’t.

Uncultured Project - Aid to Bagarat

But, the way I see it – most poor families (even before the Cyclone hit) sleep in the same bed. So, 70 blankets translates to 70 families (and these blankets are big enough for that). So that translates to about 200 to 280 people. That means someone is going to be warm this winter and it cost me me less than a buck a person. Even the iPhone can’t compete for that kind of value (and I’m a huge mac geek).

Just how much 70 blankets actually is dawned upon me when BRAC came to pickup the blankets. They came with an empty jeep – but they still had to stuff them all inside…

BRAC Employee Loads Uncultured Project Blankets for Transport

Here’s a shot of after they managed to squeeze all the blankets in:

All The Blankets Loaded in the BRAC Jeep

The round white tanks are the CNG tanks – the fuel alternative I told you about in an earlier post.

I’m just hours away to the worst affected region in Bangladesh. My aunt warned me that things are so bad there the smell of death is still there. Thanks auntie, that makes me real comfortable going now…

P.S. – For the life of me, I have no idea what magic it takes to make a popular YouTube video. I’m not asking for crying about Britney Spears with a towel on your head popular (that video almost at 13 million views now by the way), but I was hoping my latest video about Dhaka after the Cyclone had featured-on-YouTube-frontpage potential. But it is starting too look like this video will be my lowest viewed video yet. I’m not worried though – especially on a day like today. I now have 200 to 280 more reasons to be thankful I’m here.

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