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.

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