Monday, May 31, 2010

The Photo Meditation of the Month (May, 2010): BUGS AND INSECTS


A caterpillar or hairy larva of a butterfly or moth on a rose branch

Photo (Toronto: May 16, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

A lady bug or lady beetle on a flower plant

Photo (Toronto: May 31, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

Bugs and Insects

Bugs and insects -- they are our neighbours. God created them along with humankind, animals and the fauna.

We deem these bugs and insects as unnecessary evil. We treat them as our enemies. They eat our plants and crops and so on.

But, if we take the whole picture into account, we find that these little critters do us a service in many different ways. By moving from one plant to the other, they help pollinate flowers when they are in their forays for food. There are others, who burrow holes in the ground and help in the aeration of the soil with oxygen. Colourful lady bugs help us by killing aphids, another type of insects, if were not controlled, would destroy many plants by sucking sap from them.

Bugs and insects have a beauty and elegance of their own. We should form an attitude of tolerance and cooperation with them. This way the environment would be improved. This way we would learn to coexist peacefully with them.

Caterpillars undergo a metamorphosis -- from one type of insect to a better one. When it comes out of the cocoon, it's a beautiful butterfly or moth.

What can we learn from a creepy crawly caterpillar? We learn to be better or best from good, to be a better person from a bad or mediocre one. We also learn to be helpful to others.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Poem of the Month (May, 2010): IT'S NEVER TOO LATE!


It's Never Too Late!

By Jerome D'Costa

It's never too late
To do anything or be anything.

Have a goal, have a determination,
Have a patience and have a perseverance,
Then go for it.

Always have an alternative plan
Or a Plan B in doing or being anything.
If one doesn't work,
Go for the other.
But go for it, just do it.

Whatever you choose,
Do it to the best of your ability
With the best of your love and commitment,
The success will be yours.

There's no age limit for learning,
There's no limit to doing,
There's no limit to being.

Go for it man, go for it woman,
Be satisfied by giving the best try,
Leave your mark, big or small, in this world.

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The Quotation of the Week (May 30 - June 5, 2010)

A Maple tree stump in Scarborough, Toronto

Photo (March 19, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Goose in Dhaka


A doodle of a goose

Doodle (Dhaka: October 6, 1994) © Jerome D'Costa

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mount Everest Climbing: Ultimately the 'Bheto Bangali' Has Done It!


Musa Ibrahim, the Daily Star journalist,
recently climbed the Mount Everest

Photo courtesy:

Mount Everest seen from Pang-La Pass (Tibetan side)
Photo courtesy:

When Bangalis (Bengalees) are metaphorically known as bheto Bangali ("rice-consuming Bangalis" who are easy-going, non-agressive and non-adventurous people), one Bangali, for the first time, succeeded recently in ascending the Mount Everest -- the highest peak in the world.

Musa Ibrahim, a sub-editor (copy-reader) of the Daily Star of Dhaka, joined a group of foreign mountaineers and some Nepali sherpas (porters and guides) and approached the Mount Everest from the Tibetan side. Ultimately, on May 23, 2010 morning, they reached the summit, reports the Daily Star.

The 26-member mountaineering team had one Bangladeshi (Musa Ibrahim), one American, six Britons, three Montenegrins, one Serb and 14 Nepalese sherpas. The team was coordinated by the Himalayan Guide, a company that operates mountaineering expeditions.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulated Musa Ibrahim for his feat. In a message, she said that Musa glorified the image of Bangladesh in the world by hoisting the flag of Bangladesh on the highest peak in the world. "By conquering Mount Everest, Musa has proven that Bangalee is a brave nation, no obstruction is unconquerable to us," she said.

The China-Tibet Mountaineering Association on May 26 officially confirmed the feat of Musa Ibrahim's team by distributing certificates of achievement among the 12 foreign mountaineers.

In reaction, Musa Ibrahim said: "It is the fulfillment of a dream. It is not possible to express in words the emotions. I was overwhelmed when I reached the top of the peak."

From the sea level, Mt. Everest is 8,848 metres (29,035 feet) high. Musa Ibrahim along with some others founded the North Alpine Club Bangladesh in October, 2007. Its members practise mountain climbing with the goal of reaching the highest peak in the world. In June, 2009, Musa Ibrahim and Tawhid Hossain, a fellow member of the club, ascended Mount Annapurna IV (7,525 metres or 24,688 feet high).

New Zealand's Edmund Hillary and Nepal's Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first persons to conquer Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. After them, so far, about 1,200 persons from different countries ascended the summit. This year, this is the first time that a Bangladeshi joined the Everest ascenders' list.

To a Bangali, mountaineering is as foreign as an Eskimo

Bangladesh is a large plain delta with numerous rivers, rivulets and canals crisscrossing it like a fishing net. Only in the north-eastern and south-eastern parts of the country there are some hills. The highest peak in Bangladesh is Mount Keokradong (some say 'Keokradang') which is 1,230 metres or 4,034 feet high. From time immemorial, non-Bangali ethnic peoples were inhabiting near these hills. Bangalis were not interested in nor did they have the stamina for climbing these hills. With the independence of Bangladesh, Bangalis began to settle in hilly areas in increasing numbers. In many cases, they were encroaching on the land and properties of the ethnic peoples. Till now, mountaineering in local hills did not develop yet. Local mountaineering is still as foreign as an Eskimo.

Musa Ibrahim's feat will act as an inspiration for next generations of Bangalis

The efforts of Musa Ibrahim and his Alpine Club Bangladesh members are praiseworthy. His recent achievement is a watershed moment in Bangladesh. The next generations of Bangalis will definitely go for more adventurous pursuits drawing inspiration from his recent success.

My brush with 'hilleering' (hill climbing) in Bangladesh

Bawm ethnic girls walking up to their Ruma school hostel, a project
funded by World Vision of Bangladesh. (At the rear, L-R: Albert Mankin,
the then Chittagong Area Manager of World Vision and
Father Philip D'Rozario, a Catholic priest from Chittagong are
visiting the project. This photo gives an idea of the hilly situation
of the region. The Sangu River flows below by the hills.
(Since I do
not possess a photo of hills from my 1985 trip, I am using this
photo from my second trip to Ruma in 1987)

Photo (Ruma, Dt. Bandarban: Feb. 26, 1987) © Jerome D'Costa

In course of my work at World Vision of Bangladesh, an international voluntary agency, I had the opportunity for visiting some of its education and development projects in the hills of Bandarban Hill Tracts.

In February, 1985, World Vision Dhaka Central Office staff Simon Munshi, Ferdaus Daud Haider and myself with Zirkung Shahu, a programme officer from Chittagong Area Office, set out to visit World Vision projects at Munnuam, Artha and Basatlang villages inhabited by Bawm ethnic people. These villages, nestled in hills, were about 12 miles away from Ruma. There is no plain land beyond Ruma. Rolling hills continue up to the hilly border regions of Myanmar (Burma).

From Ruma, we started walking on a narrow path, two to three feet wide, carved out of the sides of hills, several hundred feet high. Every one of us had a stick in hand to help us keep our balance on the bumpy path. We had to walk cautiously because a slip would land us 100 to 200 feet below. We moved from one hill to the other going up and down. The last hill near the villages was the highest. Before approaching it, I felt extremely tired as I was never an athletic type of person. My leg muscles became harder and began to pull. The cramps were so bad that I could not move my feet. I was compelled to sit on the path and I was literally weeping! I was worried that if cramps didn't subside I wouldn't be able to reach the villages before darkness. My stronger colleagues had already outpaced me and moved forward. I was alone with a local guide whom we had brought from Ruma. The guide told me to sit and wait as long as necessary. After an hour or so and after massaging of my leg muscles, I could walk with some difficulty. This way I crossed the last hill and reached the destination in six hours' time. Although I faced difficulties on the way, I did not lose hope. My sheer determination to go forward and my curiosity for observing new places and peoples made it possible for me. That day I broke one small record. I became the first ever World Vision managerial staff (I was the Communications Manager at the time) to visit those projects! The return trip wasn't that much muscle-pulling and crampy because the hills were getting smaller and smaller and we were climbing downward towards Ruma.

That was a bitter-sweet experience of my hilleering in Bangladesh! After that I never dared venture beyond Ruma.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

A Bangali (Bengalee) Belle


A doodle on a Bangali Belle

Doodle (Dhaka: May 21, 1995) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Quotation of the Week (May 23 - 29, 2010)

Some greeneries near a students' hall at the University
of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Photo (Waterloo, Ontario: Sept. 6, 2009) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Signs of the Times

A real estate agent who succeeded in selling a house on
Woodbine Avenue, Toronto

Photo (Toronto: April 4, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Doodle on Jesus Christ


"Jesus, You Are My Saviour!" -- A doodle
Doodle (Dhaka: May 22, 1994) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Quotation of the Week (May 16 - 22, 2010)


Photo (Waterloo, Ontario: Sept. 6, 2009 ) © Jerome D'Costa

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Children and their mothers in Dinajpur town are seeking warmth
on a winter morning by making a fire on a roadside

Photo (Dinajpur, Bangladesh: March, 1975) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Today is the Mother's Day

A doodle on mother and child

Doodle (Dhaka: July 2, 1991) © Jerome D'Costa

Today is the Mother's Day. We offer our greetings and respect to all mothers of the world in this auspicious day. To a greater extent, it is because of them we are what we are today.

Today we repeat the poem that we wrote on the occasion of the last Mother's Day.

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The Quotation of the Week (May 9 - 15, 2010)

A small bush that changed its colour in winter
on the grounds of the University of Waterloo

Photo (Waterloo, Ontario: January 25, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Too Much Garo Hospitality Can Be Burdensome!

It was 21 years ago at Birisiri near Shushong-Durgapur of Netrakona District. Rev. John Key, the then Executive Director of World Vision of Bangladesh -- an international NGO -- was invited as the keynote speaker for the large gathering of Garo Baptist Convention leaders. Representatives of Garo Baptist churches from several northern districts gathered for their convention.

After crossing the Shomeshwari River, as we approached the Birisiri Mission compound, we were given a rousing welcome by Rev. Shubash Sangma, Chairman of the Garo Baptist Convention, and other Baptist leaders and school teachers and students.

As Rev. John Key was going forward, he was receiving paper and flower garlands from students, Garo leaders and World Vision-funded project partners. Garland after garland began to pour and finally he was about to be 'drowned' with garlands. It was both a 'suffocating' as well as enjoyable situation!

About 400 B.C., the Garos (also called Mandis) came down to the Garo Hills of the Brahmaputra River Basin (in the State of Meghalaya of India) from Tibet. Then some groups of the Garos gradually moved to the south to the plain lands of Bangladesh region. Presently, Garos, in Bangladesh, can be found in the districts of Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Kishoreganj, Netrakona, Sherpur, Tangail, Sylhet, Moulavibazar, and Sunamganj.

American Baptists first started their mission work among the Garos of Meghalaya in 1867. Their work gradually spread to the Garos of Bangladesh region in early 20th century. American Holy Cross Fathers were the first Roman Catholic missionaries to start work among the Garos (of Bangladesh region) in late 1910. In Bangladesh, at present, greater number of Garos are Roman Catholics, followed by Baptists, Anglicans and Seventh-Day Adventists. Christian missionaries were also first to bring the light of education among the Garos. This education work was greatly strengthened with the assistance given by World Vision of Bangladesh.

Garos belong to the matriarchal society. Unlike the Bangalis, the mother is the head of the family. Daughters inherit lands and properties. Garos are well-known for their hospitality. Strangers are treated as special guests. They will kill the best pig or chickens for feeding the guests.

Rev. John Key (in the middle) is being received by the headmistress
of Birisiri High School. Rev. Shubash Sangma (in white shirt at right)
is looking on

Rev. John Key receives more applause and garlands

More garlands...

Further garlands are piling up!

About to be drowned with garlands

Finally, really drowned!

Photos (Birisiri, Netrakona District: April, 1989) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Quotation of the Week (May 2 - 8, 2010)

A bunch of spinach with a few potatoes

Photo (Toronto: February 7, 2009) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Websites and Blogs on the Catholic Church in Bangladesh

The website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference
of Bangladesh (CBCB)

The present area of Bangladesh came in contact with Christians and Christianity in the 16th century when Portuguese merchant ships made their forays in the Bay of Bengal.

At the invitation of King Pratapadittya, Jesuit missionaries built the first Catholic church in Bangladesh in 1599 and named it 'The Church of the Holy Name of Jesus.' It was built at Iswaripur, also called 'Chandecan' by the Portuguese, in the Sunderbans Forest of the present Satkhira District. Jesuits also erected the second church, named 'St. John the Baptist Church,' in Chittagong in mid-1600. Later other missionaries followed the Jesuits and preached Christianity in different regions of Bangladesh.

To know more about the Catholic Church in Bangladesh, you may visit the following online resources:

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