Monday, May 30, 2005

It's bad. I thought it was bad yesterday, but it's worse today. If only those nasty little buggers would stop erupting! Page has them in her mouth, on her tongue and even on her uvula! She says it feels like they are all the way down her throat. I feel just awful for her! Send healing vibes, all of you faithful blog readers! Posted by Hello

As the pox began to erupt, I dabbed and dabbed. Thank God for calamine lotion. Posted by Hello

Pre-Pox Awareness. Page was happily typing away 'neath the mosquito net...unknowing that within her veins coursed an evil spawn.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Pox!

I can't believe it. Page came all the way around the world and it looks like she is going to end up spending most of her time in bed. We're pretty sure she has chicken pox. We're going to take her to the doctor tonight just to make sure it's not leprosy or something (don't worry, mom, I was just trying to be shocking. It's not leprosy.), but I think the little fluid filled bumps that are erupting all over her body are a pretty sure sign of chicken pox. She feels like crap, too. I feel like crap for her! And I'm hoping the vaccine that Isaac took gave him enough immunity to keep him pox-free for our trip home. That would be a disaster.

I'm so bummed! Our Comilla trip is once again postponed, and we also have to skip Bongo Bazaar, Savar, and the myriad shopping/eating excursions I had planned. To add insult to injury, a super hot heat wave has hit Dhaka this week, and it's absolutely intolerable to go out into the sun. Sigh. We're relegated to my AC room (thank God and Masud for the AC unit). We can't even watch pirated DVD's because the player broke. WahhhhH!

Well, I have eleven days left, anyways, so I'm looking on the bright side. I'll be home and happily sleeping mosquito net free in less than two weeks. Subway sandwiches will be available. I can breathe fresh air and eat dill pickles to my hearts content. Sigh. The joys of America.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Home Stretch.

Today I presented my research in front of a live audience. Kei, Tanya and I stood in front of our colleagues, friends, and some Embassy staff and talked about what we did during our 9 months here. I was so ridiculously nervous that I had IBS all morning. I did okay, though, or so Page tells me. I'm glad it's over though. Presentations are definitely not my bag, baby.

I'm so glad Page is here. I'm having a tough time with all of these mixed feelings. I'm so excited to come home, but devastated about leaving my friends. It's really quite awful. Bittersweet. Page is helping me through all of this - she's really matured in the past year and has become a great friend for me.

Also, today we got news that one of our favorite high school teachers, Ms. Susan Maasz, passed away this morning. She was young and has a son who will start high school next year. I give her credit for a great deal of my own personal and academic development. I will miss her.

Time to go have chocolate.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

It's an Anowara Reverse Oreo! Posted by Hello

Page is here!

Well, she survived, despite all of our worrying. I saw her first in the line at the immigration counter and I just wanted to break through all the glass that separated us and squeeze her to death. But it wasn't to be, as she didn't realize that it was okay for her to butt in front of the people who butted in front of her in line. Then her luggage didn't make it here from Dubai, so it was another hour to get that straightened out. When she finally made it through the gates, I screamed and grabbed her, much to the horror of the onlookers (women being loud in public). She got in the car and rolled up her jeans. It's hot here.

I just asked her to give me five things that she finds amazing...

1) How fluent I am in Bangla (oh yeah!)
2) How everyone stares at her (and calls her Madam).
3) The slavery system.
4) How everyone is infatuated with fair skin.
5) How people drive here and don't die.

Since she's been here, we've already had a strike, so we've mostly stayed home. The next few days should be fun, though, as I've got some excursions planned. I'll keep you posted. For now, enjoy the pictures.

It's a Page Oreo! Posted by Hello

Page helped me teach English class today! Posted by Hello

Everyone wanted their picture taken with the new "bideshi" (foreigner). People don't hesitate to tell me how much more beautiful she is than I. She's also taller and skinnier. Nice for Page to get compliments, but tough on my ego. Posted by Hello

Page and I hung out at the American Club today. Can you see the family resemblence? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

You could fry an egg...on my scalp.

It is literally so hot here that I have to take an umbrella on my 5 minute walk to work in the morning. Otherwise I feel like my hair is going to spontaneously combust. I don't know how people, especially rickshaw pullers, can stand to work in this heat. Tomorrow is going to be a doozy, possibly topping out at 110. Oh yeah.
I've been busily wrapping up my projects, and trying to figure out the mystery that is statistics. Kathy and her graduate student Saif bhai have been very helpful, and they were both impressed by my R-squared of 28 (I have no idea what that means, but apparently it's good). Hopefully I'll understand it enough to be coherent when I present my findings later this month. Or maybe I'll just use lots of jargon and sound impressive. We'll see.
Isaac has started to realize that we will not see some of our new friends for a long time once we leave. He busted out crying yesterday in the office, because he has a "nanu" (maternal grandmother) there whom he loves very much. She spoils him rotten, even though she makes about 30 dollars a month. She bought him an outfit and brings fruit every day (even though he doesn't eat fruit.) In the mornings, she walks a few miles to work but always comes to my house first so she can carry my bag for me. I don't let her of course, but it's a tough battle. She holds Isaac's hand and helps us cross the terrifying road on the way to the office. Kathy has some great pictures of her with Isaac and I'll try to post them soon.
Well, I hope you all are enjoying your temperate weather and pollution free air. I will post more pictures soon.
Only 28 days left to go! Page comes on Tuesday (yipee!)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

30 Days

I finally got to sleep in a little today, and I've been happy about it all day. I was very productive as a result, and managed to pack another suitcase as well as "analyze" some data. I managed to realize that I'm not quite sure what I am looking for in my data. It's progress, folks.

I had planned a big trip to Comilla for today, but it fell through as some of my travelling companions were otherwise engaged. We are going to try again next week. Our plan is to talk to rickshaw wallahs, find some rickshaw art painters, buy some art, and take pictures. I also want to buy some more of the famous Comilla "khadi" cloth. It's 100% cotton, hand spun, hand woven, and completely comfortable. It breathes really well in this heat, and I plan to live in it from now on. I have requests from several of my friends here to buy as much as I can carry back for them.

Maya had a CNG accident a couple of weeks ago (can't remember if I mentioned it or not.) Her CNG flipped over, and all seven layers of skin were scraped off of her lower leg. She ended up having to have a skin graft (ouch) and is recovering painfully in Chittagong. I wanted to go visit her this week, but the election is going on there and it's completely unsafe. She's been so lonely over there and I feel so bad for her. She just got over typhoid fever - which was really awful because she had to work through the whole ordeal - and now this accident. Her boss finally gave her time off, but several patients have died because the other doctors can't handle the case load.

Makes me count my blessings.

Monday, May 02, 2005

36 days...

Well, I had a great week thanks to all of my fun social activities. Tanya's party was a blast, and I felt really cool when I was having a conversation with a Bangladeshi, a Morrocan, an Australian and a Brit - all at once! I'm just so freaking international! Isaac had fun playing the underage bartender again, asking everyone if they needed more "Zampane". Tanya busted some tunes for us, as did her roommate Munisha. Isaac has decided that Munisha is his "second girlfriend". At least I'm still number one. He says, "mom, she's just really bew-full (beautiful)".

I had a nice time at Rubeena's house (ate too much), but had to cut it short because the landlord of the Nari Jibon office lost her marbles. We decided that we needed to move immediately. She threatened to put locks on our doors and not let us take our stuff. This was in spite of the fact that we had already paid her two extra month's worth of rent. But according to her, in Bangladesh, you have to give three month's notice when you are moving out. Even though she never signed a lease agreement. Ahhhh. Law and order is not one of the strong points of this country. Kathy ended up losing 30,000 taka on the whole deal, not to mention the money she spent improving the office. But the good news is, we're in a nicer place and we should be okay now.

I spent the day at a conference on human rights for sex workers. We took some of the women from our office, and I sat with them in the "Bangla speakers section". I am pretty darn proud of my Bangla skills at this point, because I could understand a great deal of what was said today. It was interesting to sit with the sex workers and hear their points of view about what the "researchers" were saying about them . One thing I've learned about development is that so many of these aid organizations swoop in with their two year grants, do their research and/or intervention, and then swoop out (because it's rough for anyone from the first world to spend longer than two years in the third world). What's left over is a bunch of poor people who have maybe had a taste of what it's like to be cared for, to have a stable income, or to have hope, and most of the time they fall right back where they started. I'm not saying that none of these programs do any good...research is necessary and so are the programs...but it's the whole "teach them to fish" deal. It's all about sustainability and capacity building. Kathy, if you're reading this, I get it! I finally get it!

Well, now that I've shared my nugget of wisdom for the day, it's time to pass out. I'm so pooped I actually don't care that the mosquitoes are eating me alive.