Friday, July 28, 2006

Dengue Fever

This week has been totally exhausting. I got home Sunday night (sans suitcases), and went back to work on Monday morning. This was my last week of work for my county job, and it actually wasn't too bad. The woman we hired to replace me is great and a fast learner. The hard part was the jet lag - it seems like the recovery period gets longer each time I fly. I caught some kind of Bangladesh Death Flu before I left, which didn't help matters much.

Speaking of Death Flu, Masud had also been sick for about a week before we left. He seemed to be getting better, but suddenly yesterday he started feeling really sick at the office. He went to the clinic and discovered that his fever was at 104. He started to get a bad headache and the doctor decided to send him to the emergency room. They tested him for malaria, dengue, and menengitis. My poor husband is terrified of hospitals and needles, and he had to have some painful tests including a spinal tap.

It turns out that he doesn't have malaria or menengitis, but the dengue results won't be back from the CDC for a few days. The doctor is pretty sure it's dengue. Google it for more info - it's a pretty intense disease.

I want to be with him but I can't afford a plane ticket, and the drive is over 11 hours so I'd have to turn around right after I got there. I guess this is another consequence we'll have to learn to deal with...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Dramatic Goodbyes

Today is the last day that I will spend in Bangladesh. While I'm very sad to be leaving, I am so excited to see Isaac that it's making me almost crazy! It's been an interesting day so far, and it's only 11:15 a.m. This morning, I waited in Gulshan-2 circle for my friends to pick me up, and I was surrounded by a group of beggars and street children. They asked for money, of course, which I didn't give to them (I seriously don't have any!) and then asked if I would visit their homes. Rickshaw-wallahs began to gather and listen to me chatting with a group of street kids. As the crowd grew, businessmen on their way to work tried to shoo the beggars away, thinking that I was being harrassed. It was an interesting experience, mostly because I am usually terrified of people standing in a circle around me (both because of my fear of speaking in front of people and my crowd-anxiety).

After my friends picked me up, we went to meet with Mahmuda Islam, founder of Women for Women. I've heard a lot about her and read lots of her articles, and it was a real treat to meet her. She helped us out with a project at Nari Jibon, which was a great relief.

Now I'm at the office, preparing myself for a long day of tearful goodbyes. Tonight I'll need to pack my bag and make the last minute phone calls to friends and family. I have a bit of a virus, so I am not at my most patient of moods, but I am really looking forward to giving Isaac a huge hug and snuggling up for a nice long sleep in my own bed.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

You Know You're In Bangladesh When...

...the bus driver hands out plastic bags before starting the journey in case any passengers need to barf. plan your shopping trips around your bodily functions because a useable public restroom is rare. see only three hair colors - black, grey and bright orange (the color of henna-dyed grey hair that people seem to think looks "natural"). don't bother to dry off after bathing because you sweat so much that your clothes are wet anyway.

...the begger to whom you gave 20 taka comes back and says, "Madam, the note you gave me is torn, give me a better one!" cure your chronic constipation with a dish of lukewarm phuschka from the roadside stand.

...your feet are constantly polka-dotted with insect bites, and you have to shake out your clothes before dressing to make sure that there are no bugs inside waiting to bite you.

...once important task like applying deodorant and styling your hair become pointless in the relentless heat and humidity. begin to long for simple delicacies like Kraft Mac N Cheese and other bland foods to soothe your spice-worn innards.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Update Via List

1. I forgot to shake out my kameez this morning before I put it on, and so all day a bug has been roaming around inside my clothes and biting me when it gets a chance. I don't think it's a big bug, because I can barely feel it walking around, but I sure can feel it bite, and it leaves nasty bumps that itch!

2. I spent about $300 in the past 2 days on books, bootleg DVDs, and silver jewelry. Masud is in India on business, and when the shammi's away, the bou must play!

3. Yesterday while stuck in a typical Dhaka traffic jam, I heard some beautiful bamboo flute music. I looked to the left and saw a driver of a private car sitting with the window rolled down, playing the flute. When he saw me watching him, he stopped out of shyness, but I asked him to keep playing and he did. It was the most wonderful traffic jam ever!

4. I was nearly run over by a bus today, but managed to jump away just in time. Sadly, I didn't look before I lept, and landed in a huge puddle of poop-water.

5. It's been raining a lot here, which is nice because it cools the hot air a little, but it's also bad because it floods the sewers thus creating the aforementioned poop-water.

6. I tried to register for my classes this morning on the irritatingly slow "broadband" connection in the Nari Jibon office. I had a beautiful schedule created, but it turned out that four of the five classes were full. I think I'll just wait to get back.

7. I have some great pictures, but no way to post them. Anticipate much picture blogging once I get back to my wireless DSL connection in the USA.

8. I MISS ISAAC so bad that I can barely stand it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Greetings from the Desh.

We made it safely to Bangladesh, although the journey seems longer and longer every time I do it. After being here only one day, I feel like I never left! Some observations:

1. You know you've left American territory when the flight attendant announces which languages are spoken by the crew aboard the plane: Hindi, Philipine, Bangla, Arabic, Urdu, English, and Thai.

2. It's hot here. The moment I stepped off the plane and the Dhaka smog hit my skin, about 20,000 zits popped out on my face. Gross. I'm ready for my close up now!

3. My brain does not work. I went to the Indian Embassy today to get my visa, but forgot to take some money along to pay for it. Grraahhhh!

4. I still have not been able to eat Jilapi, but hopefully I'll get some tonight!

More updates to come. Send cool breezes my way!