Friday, August 21, 2009

2000 and Run, Part 3

Sorry I've been away - I've been behind the Great Chinese Firewall and am have just found some software to get around it. More on that later. Now I'm playing catchup on these posts.

Anyway, I arrived at 8:01 the next morning and Omi was there a few minutes later. Forty-five minutes later we had searched up and down the street and found Rafikul nowhere. Anis had volunteered to drop Rafikul off, so headed to Anis's house to see what was up. His mother warmly greeted us and said that yes, Anis was home but he was taking the day off from work - he was sick. Great. They day after he gets the rickshaws he's taking off work. I wasn't pleased, and I wanted answers. Anis said he didn't know he was supposed to pick up Rafikul. He said he'd run over to Rafikul's house and get him.

Ten minutes later we get a call. Rafikul didn't want to go, and of course he didn't have the courtesy to let us know. He said the night before his neighbors told him that foreigners would take his kid and cut off his leg (Even though we told him to come with us without the kid!). I asked, "What incentive would I have to spend my own time and money to cut off someone's leg who I don't even know and who came to me in the first place?" He was finally convinced.

During the ride, I asked more questions about him and his son. He would turn away after each question, like he was really shy or just didn't want to be there. An hour later we arrived at CRP, and we were conveniently skipped ahead of everyone, just because of who I was/knew/wrote about the organization. I wasn't happy with this - quite embarrassed. We found out that of course, Rafikul had left the doctor's report and brought an X-ray that was 3 months old. Perfect. We were sent home, and Dr. Razzack said that he could make time for us tomorrow morning at 8:30 even though he doesn't usually see outpatients. We took the bus back and Rafikul was even more off-putting than before, not saying much of anything, except that he was hungry, implying that we should get him something. I also saw him buy pon - basically chewing tobacco. Probably not something I'd be doing when my son desperately needed medications. I took him and his son that evening to get new X-rays. The son wanted fruit so I gave the father 20 Taka to buy it. He came back with one orange. I buy bananas every day for 3 or 4 Taka. I know he pocketed the rest. I was beginning to see a pattern.

That finished around 6:00pm, but we still had work with Anis to discuss his payment plan. Over two hours I listened and sketched out a personalized payment plan, including a complimentary saving plan. It wasn't until the previous day when I was driving him around Dhaka to introduce him to all my contacts (they almost didn't let him into the restaurant and shopping mall, just because of who he was and his dress) that he finally understood the purpose of the loan and what I was getting at. I told him that I wanted us to be equals - business partners in a sense. I didn't want it to be a gift. He said that he really liked the idea because when he is successful it will be because of his hard work and not from charity. I think this is what is really attractive about social business.

The next day we met at 7:15 am. The taxi we arranged the night before never came. We searched desperately for any others - the longer we waited the thicker the traffic got
and the closer we got to 8:30. We finally found a taxi that had its hood open and panels missing on the door. The driver was willing to go. Once we finally went to pick up the family, Rafikul was nowhere in sight. He was having breakfast - breakfast that Omi and I had skipped to get there on time. Not only that, when Anis said that when he arrived to pick up the family in his rickshaw at 7:00, they were all still asleep. At any rate we packed in the car - the family in the back and Omi and I scrunched in the front - Omi sitting between my legs. Every time the driver shifted I had to lift my leg up. The car was struggling. Halfway through the trip a passing car yelled to us - our back left wheel was wobbling. The driver tried to fix it but I looked in the mirror to find it just as before. To make matters worse Rafikul was criticizing the driver and even me and Omi. When we pulled over to ask for directions, he said sarcastically "Uncle, you just went there yesterday, but you already forgot?" I just wanted that ride to be over and to hear what CRP had to say.

1 comment:

  1. I just re-read your last three posts, which seem to have taken place over a 2-day period. What an intense time. I'm anxious to hear what happened with Faruk and his leg. I've also wondered if others in the slum are happy for Anis or if they are giving him a hard time for having received the opportunity you gave him.