After a conversation with Afshana Diya, my plans to visit Bangladesh for WordCamp Sylhet began to take shape. Initially, I wasn’t prepared for another event after my recent visit to WordCamp Asia, which had been challenging to manage. However, Afshana proposed a panel discussion with me and other contributors, and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. So, I started making preparations for the trip, along with my wife.
I previously attended WordCamp Dhaka in 2019, which was the first WordCamp in Bangladesh. The excitement of visiting Sylhet was similar to my first experience.
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Kathmandu to Sylhet
On May 18, our group of seven, including me, my wife, and our friends Sunita, Prithu, Sanjip, Umesh, and Prabin, embarked on our journey to Bangladesh. We flew from Kathmandu to Dhaka and then took another flight to Sylhet. While waiting for the flight to Sylhet, I had the pleasure of meeting two friends from the company WPXPO, Jakir Hasan and Anik Biswas, who were also on the same flight.
Since it was already 9:00 PM and we were exhausted from the day’s travel, our plan was to go directly to our hotel room and rest. However, upon informing Afshana about our arrival, she insisted that we join the ongoing welcome dinner. So, despite some of us being invited and others not, we all went to the Grand Sylhet Hotel and Resort, the venue for the dinner.
Jakir Hasan and Anik Biswas kindly helped us arrange an Uber ride and dropped us off at the dinner venue. Their assistance and the warm hospitality of the attendees made us forget our fatigue instantly. We were served delicious food and received overwhelming hospitality, setting a positive tone for the upcoming WordCamp Sylhet.
Event Day – WordCamp Sylhet 2023
The next day, on May 19, I was thrilled to attend the event. After freshening up, we headed to Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, where WordCamp Sylhet was held. Meeting familiar faces and new attendees after four years brought back the excitement, especially for speaking on the stage, which is always a thrilling experience regardless of how many times you’ve done it before.
I must express my sincere appreciation for the warm welcome and efforts to make me feel special. The event sessions were well-organized, and the panel discussion I participated in with Afshana Diya as the moderator, along with Ahmed Chaion, Sunita Rai, and Fahim Murshed, was engaging and interactive.
While my wife and friends collected swag from sponsors’ booths, Sunita gave interviews, and the others networked with fellow attendees. Lunch was a delightful experience, offering a variety of dishes unfamiliar to us from Nepal.
Although I couldn’t attend all the sessions as I had hoped, the ones I did attend were informative and effective. One limitation I noticed was the language barrier for Nepalese participants. Nonetheless, the sessions adhered to the schedule and proved productive.
I want to express my gratitude to the organizers for the lovely token of appreciation they provided. It was a thoughtful gesture that I truly cherished.
After the event concluded, we rested briefly in our hotel room and then visited the Auth Lab office, where the Marketing Adda event was taking place. We had interesting conversations with WordCampers; the office was impressive and beautifully decorated. For dinner, we went to the highly recommended Panchbhai restaurant in Sylhet. We express our gratitude to everyone who recommended the Panchbhai restaurant to us. Apart from the crowd, everything about the place was fantastic and exceeded our expectations.
Contributor Day – WordCamp Sylhet 2023
On May 20, we participated in Contributor’s Day, which took place at Auth Lab, making it convenient for us to reach the venue. The event commenced around 9 AM, and I had the privilege of leading the Themes table. I provided guidance to the attendees who joined the theme table, conducting theme reviews and discussing theme-related guidelines. I extend my gratitude to all those who participated in the themes table.
The Contributor’s Day was a resounding success, with over 100 attendees. The day concluded at approximately 3 PM, and during our time together, we had the pleasure of singing both Nepali and Bengali songs with our Bengali friends, including MD. Kamrul. It was a delightful and cheerful moment, and we discovered that Kamrul had a fondness for Nepali songs like “Maski Maski” and “Resham Firiri.” He displayed great singing talent.
After wrapping up the sessions at Auth Lab, we took group photos and decided to explore some famous nearby places in Sylhet. Our first destination was the tea garden, a breathtaking location abundant with greenery and tranquility. It reminded me of Nepal’s tea state, Illam. Additionally, some of our Nepali friends enjoyed wearing hijabs, immersing themselves in the local culture.
We spent around 3-4 hours enjoying the serene atmosphere of the tea garden before heading to a local Dhaba. While waiting for snacks and tea, we engaged in an entertaining game of antakshari. We divided ourselves into teams based on our respective countries, Nepal and Bangladesh. I must admit that both teams resorted to clever tactics, singing songs that the other team couldn’t catch. It was a lighthearted and amusing experience.
Our Bengali friends displayed extraordinary kindness, friendliness, and care throughout our time together. They even treated us to dinner, and we were genuinely thrilled to have their invaluable time and company. The food was incredible, and I find it challenging to put into words the level of hospitality we received. We felt deeply grateful, fortunate, and overwhelmed by the immense love and warmth extended to us.
My words alone cannot adequately express the depth of my gratitude towards Faizus Saleheen, Kamrul Islam, Hasanuzzaman Shamim, Prema Anjum, and all the WordPressers from Sylhet. We never felt as though we were in a foreign land, even for a moment. Our departure marked an emotional farewell, and we realized just how special our bond had become in such a short period of time.
Sylhet to Dhaka – Dhaka day one
Our departure from Sylhet City to explore Dhaka marked a special day for us. After having breakfast at the hotel, we bid farewell to Sylhet and safely arrived in Dhaka.
Saying goodbye to Sylhet was not easy, but we were excited to settle into our new home for the next few days, an Airbnb located in Shopnonagar Mirpur DOHS. Since we were exhausted from our previous busy days, we decided to take the day off and rest.
In the evening, we had the privilege of being invited to a dinner hosted by our dear friend, Sekander Badsha bhai. He is the lead organizer for the upcoming WordCamp Dhaka 2023. We felt incredibly fortunate to receive such warm hospitality and kind gestures, not only in Sylhet but also in Dhaka. Ahmed and Mainul joined us, and we engaged in interesting conversations while savoring the delicious food prepared for us. We were amazed by the diverse array of dishes served, all thanks to Sekander bhai and bhabi. Around 11 PM, we bid them farewell and returned to our room.
Unfortunately, when we reached our room, we discovered it was locked, and we required a master key to unlock it. While waiting for the owner, we enjoyed the nighttime scenery and the pleasantly cool weather from the apartment’s grounds. Eventually, around 1:30 AM, our room was unlocked, allowing us to finally get some sleep.
Dhaka Day Two
The next morning, at around 8 AM, we visited the weDevs office. After exploring the office, enjoying a cup of coffee, and engaging in conversations with the team, we made plans to visit a famous water park called Fantasy Kingdom.
Accompanied by Liton’s family, we spent the entire day at the water park, enjoying various games and water activities. When it was time to leave at around 5 PM, we encountered difficulties finding an Uber due to strong winds and heavy rain. As a solution, we decided to take two Ubers, with four of us( Myself, Sumi, Sunita, and Prithu) traveling in the first one.
While having a conversation with Ehsan Riyadh, who was at JoulesLab, we decided to visit him while waiting for our friends to arrive. At the office, we indulged in some snacks and had an interesting conversation with the company’s CEO, Arifur Rahman Naim, and other members.
We received an invitation for dinner at the welcoming home of our friend, Zumanur bhai. Despite being delayed by heavy rainfall, we reached their place around 10 PM. The meal served to us consisted of a wide variety of delicious dishes, and we were delighted by the warm welcome and affection we received from Zumanur bhai’s family. We were especially fascinated by their rooftop garden, which boasted lemon, orange, and mango trees.
Bhabi (sister-in-law) was also very friendly, and the children were adorable. Bhabi even fulfilled my wife’s desire to wear a burka. We express our heartfelt gratitude to Zumanur bhai and bhabhi for the wonderful evening.
Dhaka Day Three
The following morning, we had breakfast with Emran, Ehsaan, and Kaiser bhai. Afterward, we visited their office, StorePress. Subsequently, we went to the WPDeveloper office, where we had engaging conversations with Asif and Afshana. I had visited WPDeveloper previously when they occupied only two floors of an apartment building. It was impressive to see their growth during the Covid pandemic, as they now occupied an entire building with over 110 team members. It is worth mentioning that WPDeveloper was the second-largest company in terms of contributors to WordPress 6.2. We express our gratitude for their contribution to WordPress.
We had made plans to meet Saad bhai and, after managing our time, we left the office to meet him at the Grove Bistro. Our time with Saad bhai was enjoyable as we engaged in pleasant conversations and savored the delectable food. We were all grateful for his kind gesture. Rayhan informed us that he would arrange a car to pick us up and take us to Ollyo. After bidding farewell to Saad bhai, we proceeded to our next destination.
The warm welcome we received from the Ollyo family was exhilarating. We were thrilled and excited to explore the entire office, which was astonishingly well-managed with an incredible working environment. The co-workers in such a pleasant setting were sure to produce remarkable results. Some areas of the office were particularly captivating and beautiful. It was delightful to see the well-equipped gym and the recreational area. The office interior was designed in an organized and aesthetically pleasing manner. Visiting Ollyo was truly a blissful experience, and we extend our gratitude to Mr. Kawshar bhai for the warm welcome.
Unfortunately, our flight scheduled for the next day, May 25th at 5 PM, was canceled and rescheduled for the 28th. This news caused stress as we had already left our offices for a week and needed to leave Dhaka the next day. Therefore, we had to find an alternative flight, which was available for the following day at 9:30 AM. However, this would be challenging since our friends had planned to visit Nannu market for shopping.
To navigate the shopping experience and overcome the language barrier, we got the assistance of Zumanur bhai and bhabi, who accompanied us to Nannu market. Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed by 10 PM, limiting our shopping opportunities.
Later that night, we enjoyed dinner at the house of our dear friend, Liton. The meal and desserts were immensely satisfying, considering our fatigue from the hectic day. Subsequently, we returned to our hotel room around 1 AM and hurriedly packed our belongings as we had an early morning departure scheduled for the airport.
Dhaka to Kathmandu
On our last day in Bangladesh, our friend Jemee came to bid us farewell. Our time spent in Bangladesh was truly invaluable, filled with love and care. We were deeply touched by the affection and hospitality we received. We feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful friends and have learned valuable lessons from them. Witnessing their achievements and successes has been motivating and inspiring.
We sincerely hope to welcome them to WordCamp Kathmandu and Nepal, where we can reciprocate the same love and hospitality. We appreciate their attentiveness and enthusiasm towards us.
We look forward to seeing them again soon!
Thank you, dear wife Sumi help me write this blog.