Remodeling, Bangladesh Style


An earthquake one day, an armed robbery the next, and then we arrive.  This Is Bangladesh (TIB).

The day before we left the states, there was a sizeable earthquake in India felt by those in Dhaka and at HOH more than any in the past. The children were shaken out of bed at 4:30 in the morning to stand outside in the cold and wait. Everything at the home was fine and normalcy resumed.

The next day at 4:30 in the morning, 15 men armed with knives and guns tied up our guard and broke into our purchasing office and left $12,000 worth in damages and stolen property. No one was hurt, and we are very thankful. Nothing takes God by surprise, and He is faithful.

When we returned to Bangladesh this January, siblings Adam and Holli Shipley were able to join us and be such amazing blessings! We hit the ground running when we arrived. We took showers, grocery shopped, exchanged our money, activated phones, ate a good meal and then slept. Early the next morning we headed to the home for church and to move in. The kids were so excited to see us and vice versa. They were thrilled that Auntie Holli was back and loved meeting Uncle Adam. Even though the kids were in sweaters and hats, Adam immediately started asking when he could wear shorts. He loved playing football (soccer) or cricket with them. Those were also a great excuse for him to wear shorts.

Adam and Holli had come with the goal of saying goodbye to the aging paint in the dining hall, devotion room, and game room. The children had prepared for their arrival by having the rooms sanded. On Friday, we selected the new paint colors but due to Ijtema, we weren’t able to get the paint until Monday morning. Adam and Holli were learning TIB and understanding how everything takes longer in Bangladesh. With Ijtema traffic, the teachers were unable to get to school on Sunday, so Adam and Holli were able to spend ample time with the kids. Adam was able to begin some of the lighting repairs as well. When the kids walked into the dining hall after the ceiling had been repainted and the lights had been repaired, they were amazed and thought it looked like a hotel. They’ve never seen a hotel but assumed hotels must have good lighting like this.

The paint arrived Monday and our Bengali general operations man, Mark, was there to help. It wasn’t long before Holli was in my school office asking for Rick. Adam and Mark were not agreeing on how to mix the paint. Mark wanted to mix 9 parts water to 1 part paint so it could go further. Adam was trying to do it correctly at the 1 to 1 ratio. Rick was able to smooth the waters, and the paint was mixed 1 to 1. They got started, and the pink began to disappear!

We came to Dhaka on Friday morning so Holli and Adam could souvenir shop, see Old Dhaka, and find carpet for the devotion room and curtains for all three rooms. After two days of attempts, we settled on the right carpet and headed back to the home with curtain materials and samples. At this point, Holli’s vision of the completed makeover by the time she left was growing dim. Both Holli and Adam were understanding TIB; there is no Lowes or Walmart to run and get what you need.   Before we left for Dhaka, Rick had asked Mark to get more paint and have it be at the home when we returned. When we returned and opened the extra paint, it did not match. A call from Rick to Mark and then Mark to the seller brought the seller to the home to fix the problem. His fix was to put a second coat on of the wrong color, and it would look right. After discussing his idea with me, we had the correct paint the next morning.

The carpet seller measured on Saturday and was told the money would be traveling home with the buyers on Tuesday morning if the work was not completed. Amazingly, the carpet arrived on Sunday. On Monday night, we had devotions in the newly remolded devo room with lighting, paint, and carpet. Curtains have been ordered and will arrive this week. What a difference it made in our night of worship! Thank you to all that gave for this to happen! There is extra paint now for us to continue work next on the game room.

-Elaine Pardee