Arrival at Dhaka, Bangladesh

First day in Dhaka!

We arrived late last night and it still hasn’t totally sunk in that I’m here for a mission and not for a holiday.


Sheylara and student volunteers at Changi Airport
This is Changi Airport, not Dhaka yet.


I wonder if these Singapore student volunteers feel the same way. Like me, they’re attending their very first Operation Smile mission.

I’ll introduce them in upcoming blogs. Just gonna do a quick update now.

None of my friends have been to Bangladesh, so I’m assuming most of you reading this hasn’t either, so maybe you’ll want to see what the airport looks like, for starters.

This is Zia International Airport in Dhaka, Dhaka being the capital city of Bangladesh.


Zia International Airport, Dhaka
Arrival hallway


Zia International Airport, Dhaka
Just after Immigration.


Zia International Airport, Dhaka
Mysterious packages crowded beside the baggage claim carousel, guarded by two men in uniform.


The airport is small but clean and functional. The airport staff are really nice and friendly.


Zia International Airport, Dhaka
Outside the airport.


It was about 10 pm by the time we emerged from the airport, only to be greeted by a hazey night sky. I was told that this is a permanent condition in Dhaka.

The haze here puts the haze-filled days in Singapore to shame.


Zia International Airport, Dhaka
The Operation Smile Singapore team, waiting for our hotel transfer.




Zia International Airport, Dhaka
Our bus arriving.


We’re staying at the Sheraton, which came as a huge surprise to everyone. We had been given the names of two local hotels that we’d be staying in (we have a team of 48 and there wasn’t enough room in one hotel).

During our one-hour ride in the hotel transfer, our co-ordinator didn’t tell us that the plan had changed.

It wasn’t until our bus pulled up at the Sheraton that we were told our original hotels had screwed up and couldn’t provide all the rooms we had booked.

Also, the small team that had arrived a day before and stayed in that original hotel experienced bedbug bites.

So there was a bit of a fluster and, at the last moment, Operation Smile Bangladesh stepped in and booked rooms at the Sheraton for the team.

This has never happened in Operation Smile history and will probably never happen again. We were told, “Don’t get used to this!”



Sheraton Dhaka


There are security checks at the hotel entrance and baggage scans just inside. First time I’ve seen this at a hotel!


Sheraton Dhaka


The next hour was spent sorting out room assignments and having a team meeting involving introductions and preliminary briefings.


Operation Smile team


By the time I settled into my room, it was past 12 am.


Sheraton Dhaka


Sheraton Dhaka


Nice room!

And that’s all I have time for today because I’m writing this at 2:30 in the morning and I have to be up at 6 am.

Check back tomorrow for updates on the actual mission!