Trip to Saint Martin was planned out of the blue! As soon as we planned for the trip that night, I and my friend sneaked out of our office at 10 o’clock and started off for our destination – Saint Martin. Though we were unsurely searching for a bus with available seats, finally we found one of Shaymoli’s which was destined for Teknaf, and we hopped onto it right away looking forward to the long journey.
As we reached Teknaf, we had to take a cruise to go to Saint Martin. Hence, by Keari Cruise and Dines, we reached the Saint Martin dock. As soon as we reached the land, a young boy handed over a leaflet to each of us. Even though I did not pay a heed to it, my friend read it carefully finding a place to stay for the night. Through that little piece of paper, he discovered Fantasy Hotel and Resort for the very first time.
Later that day, after going through some traditional markets, we moved to Fantasy Hotel and Resort. At the reception, we came across the accountant of that resort, Md. Ashraful Alam. Due to lack of enough manpower, he himself guided us to the allocated room. That is when I and my friend noticed his feet and realized that the humorous person we met at the reception was partially disabled. We were surprised by his working capability and dedication.
During our stay at the resort, we were amazed by his honesty and simplicity time to time. While conversing, we got to know that he comes from Chengram of thana Ghoraghat, district Dinajpur. His father is a farmer. He is the eldest among the four siblings. Therefore, he had to take up the responsibility of his family. He informed that he has completed his graduation in Political Science from National University. Now, he is appointed as an accountant in Fantasy Hotel and Resort. He narrated about his struggles through life and how he got motivated. He said, “I am a disabled person. People talk negatively about me, but I don’t get bothered. I am utilizing my skills and experience to work and progressing in life. Now, many people from my village motivate me and pray for me.” He added, “My mother always told me that if I remain patient then I can achieve something good.” He hopes that the other disabled people across the country do not feel inferior ending up being jobless, but can earn their livelihoods by themselves. This is his sole expectation.
While talking to Ashraful Alam, the whole time we wondered how he was appointed in this 3 star Resort, this capitalistic society rejects even able people due to lack of efficiency. To find our answer, we reached out to the Managing Director, Toha Mohammad, Marketing Manager, M. Miraj Sikdar, and Director, Mr. Nayeem, of Fantasy Hotel and Resort. They told us that the motive of their organization is not solely to make profit. They intend to eliminate the rising problem of unemployment by creating work resources and also by appointing physically disabled people to help them to earn their livelihoods.
Our tour to Saint Martin came to an end. We prepared ourselves to return to this mechanical city of Dhaka. We were not returning with the experience of exploring the natural beauty known as Probal Dwip or Narikel Jinjara only, but we came across such individuals without knowing whom we would have known the real essence of purpose of life as well as the dedication one needs to have to fight every hardship in life. The resorts of Saint Martin are only active during these four months of tourism. The rest of the year they remain closed as the ships cannot move around. So, the employees of these resorts remain unemployed during those eight months. Hence, Ashraful Alam expects the influential people of the society to employ people not depending on their physical ability, but their skills and experience, so that they can earn and live a proper life for the rest of the eight months.
Written by: Nishat Sal Sabil
Translated by: Khadija Sultana