Tuesday 14 February 2012

PSS picnic

Rajshahi, Bangladesh

Protibondhi Shwanirvhor Shangstha (PSS) is a fairly well established disability organisation based in Rajshahi. It held a picnic, coinciding with our visit, in a very nice public park, a popular venue for picnics. The food was prepared and cooked on the spot, in big cauldrons set on wood fires; 32kg of rice, some meat and vegetables, plus lots of spices. There were also cucumbers.
It all started mid morning and by 2.30 pm a wonderful biriyani started being served in two sittings.
The cooking team, plus some of the participants
 Peter is the bearded one in the blue kurta, and David is the first on the left.
Preparing the cucumbers with a typical sickle shaped knife fixed on a wooden base
 In Bangladesh all the cooking is done squatting; there are no such things as cooking benches.

The cooks tending the cauldrons

One and half hour later, the cooking is going strong, nearly ready
The first sitting started at 2.30 pm. The biriyani was deftly scooped out of the cauldrons with a plate/bowl on to the plates. The sliced cucumbers were handed around in a bucket. People ate squatting with their right hand as it is the custom. Some of them, of course, stayed in their wheelchairs and quite a few had to be helped by their carers. But, I guess, they all enjoyed it as the food was delicious.
View of the people feeding under the PSS banner
 In between sittings, the dishes were washed nearby under a water tap.

Dish washing, again squatting
We ate at the last sitting together with Mohammed Sadar Ali, affectionately known as Baba, the father of many people. Baba, who is a great supporter of PSS, paid for most of the picnic. We were given chairs though. By then I had had enough coaching and practise about eating by hand, so I didn’t disgrace myself, hopefully.

End of the feast
 The cauldrons had the owner’s name, just in case. We do exactly the same with our bicycles and travelling gadgets.
After the food, prizes were handed out by Baba.
In all, everybody enjoyed the occasion; the location and the weather could not have been better. People queued up to have their photo taken some of  which can be viewed here.
If you want to know more about PSS, please contact Shoel Rana on pss2001.org@gmail.com

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