Inspirational people - Mahadi Hasan
Just to mix it up a bit, I thought I might add in the odd post about people outside the shop who I find inspirational. Today's focus is on Mahadi Hasan who I met as our guide when travelling in Bangladesh. In his time he has also been a translator and local fixer for the BBC, particularly during the terrible coverage of the clothing factory collapse in Dhaka. Mahadi is one of life's grafters - everything he has, he has made happen purely through his own efforts and determination.
When we met him, he was working for Bengal Tours and it happened that the time period we would be travelling was during Ramadan, so he would have been well within his rights not to work at all. Happily, he so liked the story behind our trip (three generations of my family travelling back to where my Dad, Aunt and Uncle were born whilst my Grandparents were working as missionaries) that he agreed to lead the tour. We just told him where we'd like to go and he made it happen - in style. Throughout the trip, he accompanied us everywhere, walked with us, translated for us, negotiated officialdom where necessary and had deep philosophical discussions with my Dad - and as we all piled back onto the air-conditioned bus to drink gallons of iced water as relief from the heat, as a devout Muslim, Mahadi abstained, never losing any of his enthusiasm or energy for the trip.
He has now set up his own travel company Bangladesh Eco Adventure. It's a hard sell when the only news we tend to hear of this wonderful country is to do with political problems and natural disasters, but as one who has experienced it in all of it's non-touristy glory, it is truly an adventure waiting to be had that I would highly recommend to anyone.
I think the fact that we have stayed in touch for four years after the trip demonstrates what a fantastic ambassador Mahadi is for his country.
- Mo MacLeod