Michael P

more turkey
November 30, 2008, 10:14 pm
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I was managed to get invited to another thanksgiving dinner that was hosted by some canadians that “just wanted an excuse to eat more turkey.”  The turkey was even better than the kind i had on thursday and the pumpkin pie was really good and made from scratch.

On another note, it was the 17th annual National Polio Vaccination Day.  There were a bunch of speakers that i assume were discussing the reason for getting your child vaccinated and there were tons of mothers and kids waiting in line to get the vaccine.  The WHO and UN pour a lot of money into developing countries like Bangladesh to irradicate diseases like polio, leprosy, and TB.



Thanksgiving Dinner
November 27, 2008, 7:04 pm
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Shortly after I finished making my masterful turkey hand, i finalized (kind of) my plans for thanksgiving dinner.  I ended up at a person’s house from church that i’d never met before.  I was sooooo excited to eat turkey and pumpkin pie and stuff without curry in it. The only thing missing was my family’s sweet potatoes.  I got a bunch of orange stuff that i thought was sweet potatoes, but it was pumpkin instead and i’m not a huge fan of the fried pumpkin that is commonly served in Bangladesh.  But, it was a great meal and it was nice to share the day with a group of mostly americans (there were three canadians and two bangladeshis).



Besides the great food, i also got thinking about the meaning of thanksgiving more than any other year.  Maybe its because i’m away from my family or its because i’m always reminded of how much i have compared to the people in Bangladesh, but i really thought about how thankful i am to be having this experience in Bangladesh and i’m very thankful for the comfortable life that i’ll lead once i get back to america, whenever that may be.

I hope all of you enjoy spending time with friends and family and enjoy eating to your hearts content.

Happy Thanksgiving.

October 26, 2008, 8:24 pm
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the temperature continues to drop.  all the students here are freezing.  i’m not THAT cold and i keep reminding myself its only 68 degrees.  i’ve been in -12, so i can handle this.  it’s also been rainy for two days straight, so i’ve kind of been locked up inside.  i got bored and decided to walk to get some cha and shingaras.

Then i was still bored, so i ate a coconut that one of my staff/students gave me yesterday.

I haven’t slept with a blanket since arriving in b’desh, so the guy in charge of the center (roshid) got a blanket for me.  When they asked me if i liked it i said it was pretty.  Roshid brought it out for all the women to see.  they liked the rose.

a couple of days ago i saw a guy riding in a CNG with a goat.  i thought it was slightly comical.

cold weather and salsa!
October 25, 2008, 9:22 am
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the temperature had dropped to about 75 here and i’m pretty cold.  It’s funny how your body can adjust to what it thinks is “normal.”  Three days ago 91 and humid felt normal.

getting salsa materials

Last night i had a mexican food night with some people from church.  I really miss mexican food.  I set out to make salsa fresca.  I think it turned out pretty well.  I’ll probably be making it a few more times here.

pcb land take 2 and bfc
October 23, 2008, 11:33 pm
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I headed off to the PCB land a couple of days ago.  We got some nice fresh fruit and some of the best green mango (dab in bangla) that i’ve had so far on this trip.  Usually its kind of sour, but this was just right.

then we came back to dhaka and had lunch at BFC.  I think it should really stand for Bangladeshi fried chicken, but it’s actually best fried chicken.  It’s pretty good.  Its like KFC, but not over battered and pretty spicy.

take your son to work day
October 18, 2008, 6:33 pm
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I think it was take your son to work day for the cng wallah i had a couple of days ago

before church i tried to go to the embassy to turn in my ballot, but it was friday and closed.  they said i wasn’t on the consulars guest list.  At first i was confused, but then it started to make sense.

After church i went to El Toro.  According to Lonely Planet Bangladeshi it’s the best Mexican food on the Indian subcontinent.  I like to think of myself as fairly knowledgeable on the subject of Mexican food.  It was pretty surreal being in there.  It looked almost exactly like a Chevy’s but more decorations.  The one difference was that all the servers and cooks were praying in the back of the restaurant so we had to wait for them to finish.  I was brought back to reality once i saw that.  the food was decent.  where else will i find refried beans and salsa.

After El toro i went to Movenpick with some people.  It’s a really good swiss ice cream place.  Its super plush and very expensive for bangladeshi standards.  Bangladesh is a country of stark contrasts.  you can be in movenepick and forget you are in a developing country, then at the same time look outside and see 6 year old kids begging.  I got carmelito ice cream in a waffle cone.  it was good.

PCB land
October 13, 2008, 10:44 pm
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On Saturday I decided that I wasn’t going to teach for the international school.  I came to Bangladesh to teach English for pastor ayub and I was told that I’d get to travel around the country a fair bit also.  If I was to teach for the international school I wouldn’t have any opportunity to travel.

Today proved that I made the right decision.  I went with pastor ayub to the “PCB land.”  It’s a plot of land that’s about a half hour north of uttara where he is planning on building a large vocational school, conference center, and bible college.  Right now it’s just a bunch of land that’s been filled in with dirt and has a bunch of different fruit trees and vegetables.  It was out in the country and it was so nice to get out of Dhaka.  Dhaka can be so noisy and dirty, but in the country all I could hear was kids laughing and livestock making noises.  Even though we were only 3km off the hustle and bustle of the main road, it felt like we were miles and miles away from the traffic of congested Bangladesh.

As usual, we were given snacks.  We were given this grapefruit like fruit that is slightly less tart.  I don’t like grapefruit because it’s too tart, so I enjoyed it.

Pastor ayub is planting as many plants on the land before they get all the money and permits together to build.  This way, he can sell the produce at markets and make some money to support having someone watching over the land.  Also this is kind of a way of committing himself to the land, and saying that he is going t be there for a while.  There was guava, papaya, apples, mangoes, bananas, squash, lemons, and tons of other fruits and vegetables.  In a year the land will look more like a jungle because of all the new plants.
After spending time at the land we made out way back to Uttara.  When I first got to Bangladesh I saw some guys playing a game on a square board with some sand on it.  I didn’t know what it was, but never figured it out.  When we were driving back to main road I saw some guys playing the game again, so I asked what they were doing.  Ayub had us get out so I could try the game.  I don’t remember what it’s called, but it’s like a B’deshi form of billiards with little checkers like pieces and larger checker that you use to flick the other pieces.  They use very small grains of sand to lubricate the board.

It was at a cha stand and there were at least 15 men sitting around smoking, chatting, and drinking cha.  I love cha stands.  I really can’t equate the social significance to anything in the states.  They are kind of like the social meeting place for all the men in the neighborhood and they are everywhere.

There are at least 4 within a 5 minute walk of my house.  We sat down and some random guys brought us water and little wafer crackers.  B’deshi hospitality is something that also makes the cha stand so great.  This isn’t the first time that I’ve been treated to crackers and tea by random strangers.  But this time I was given a super creamy milk drink.  It was really fresh, milked earlier in the day.  They heated it up and put a spoonful of sugar on top.  It was really good.  After finishing our cha and milk stuff we headed back to Uttara.

Before all of this I taught my center students. The first class went absolutely terribly.  I couldn’t figure out what I should teach, so when I started teaching, the lesson was too short and no one really knew what was going on.  After I taught my extremely short lesson a student of mine that doesn’t speak very good English came up and started teaching stuff.  Then I noticed how he was teaching and how everyone understood what he was doing.  When I learned Spanish i learned how to conjugate verbs and vocab and stuff, but the sentence structure wasn’t that different.  The sentence structure with spanish and english is close enough.  Bangla is way different than English, so teaching English like I was taught Spanish doesn’t work.  Bangladeshis learn English like it was a math problem.  Subject+auxiliary verb+verb+object.  So, during my second class of the day I taught like that and everyone understood what was going on and if they didn’t understand they could at least ask a question because they had a slight idea of what I was trying to say.