Thursday, August 28, 2008

So Much in One Week!

I'm pretty sure that as I was writing the last blog, I got a call from Shaheen (the Fulbrighters' contact with the US embassy in Dhaka) telling me that there was going to be a reception in Dhaka on Wednesday and she really wanted to me to be there. Well, I didn't want to give a definite answer right away because it takes about 6 hours to get to Dhaka from Chittagong and I felt bad because Daddy is leaving on the following Monday. Besides that, Janmashtami was a much bigger deal than I previously thought. Even though there is only one government holiday for it, it is actually celebrated by Hindus for three days straight. It's really crazy. So on Sunday (where I left off), we went to a parade, which was fun...but then I got an awful migraine afterward I guess because I wasn't wearing my sunglasses and it was super hot. So that lasted the rest of the day, which kind of sucked because we were invited to go to dinner at someone's house and I wasn't a particularly lively guest. But I felt ok in the morning, which was good because I got to go to one of the clinics YPSA has for their sex worker clients. It was super interesting...I sat in on one of their classes as they taught them how to tell whether someone has an STD or not and that even if a person looks normal just walking around, they can still be infected. It still amazes me that this kind of progressive education is happening in such a conservative country. I feel like so many people in Tennessee alone wouldn't be able to give me one fact about STDs. Anyway, once I came back from the clinic apparently my work for the day was done. We also had decided to go to Dhaka on Wednesday, so I let Shaheen know of that decision. We went to another Janmashtami celebration, but a weird thing happened there. As my dad, uncle, and I going in the line to get to where the actual stuff was going on, everyone kept yelling at us. I clearly did not understand what was going on, but then we soon realized that we were walking in the "boys" line, and I was not welcomed there, and I had to walk in the "girls" line. Daddy was not particularly happy about this, and I was just completely confused. Different lines to get in the same place?? So we just went through enother entrace because their barrier system was so ineffective. It was completely ridiculous. Anyway, I didn't really understand what was going on during the actual celebration, but it was fun nonetheless. The next day we went to the Head Office of YPSA to get some administrative stuff out of the way. While I was there though, I got to see my file they had compiled, and I noticed that they had listed me as an International Volunteer. I thought about that for a little, and that kind of bothered me because as a Fulbrighter, I'm supposed to be doing actual research, not volunteer work. I was afraid something like this would happen, so I mentioned this briefly to my "boss" whose name is Kochi, but she assured me that everything would be ok. Regardless, I was still a little worried. Afterwards, we tried to get the internet situation fixed, but no one apparently deals with macs so the cool phone connection I was going to get didn't work out. So now, the new plan was to share the internet line that the office is using...or something like that (i'm not sure why we didn't think of that before). Regardless, once that ordeal was done, it was way night time. The next day we had to get ready to leave for Dhaka again, but this time we took the train instead of the bus which was a cool experience. Once we got there, we went to check in at the hotel and then went straight to eat lunch at one of my uncles' in-law's house. Random, I know. But they were really nice, and had a cute toddler. I can't even comprehend how awful the traffic is in Dhaka. Even though we got there at 1:00 and the reception party was at 7:00, there was no way we could actually get anything done besides lunch in between. So I got to the reception, and it was really nice seeing everyone again. I saw David, who got in a couple of days after me, and we started talking for awhile. After some time, David's sponsor for his research, Dr. Rahman came over and talked to us, and he seemed pretty interested in what I was doing. Anyway, to make this short, he seemed to say that if I wanted to, I could come to Dhaka and he would give me a sponsorship. I don't know if I've been relaying this enough, and it's not that YPSA has not been generous, but the living situation isn't swell. It's on the 7th floor, there isn't an elevator...and that's a lot of climbing to do even for an active person. The electricity goes out ALL THE TIME, which is really annoying. And not for like 1 or 2 hours, it can go out for 8 or 10 hours. And as work, it doesn't really seem like I can get legitimate research done. So after the reception was over, I discussed things over with Daddy and I decided that this move is probably for the best. So today (Wednesday), we had to tell everyone at YPSA that I was planning on leaving not even after a week of staying, and they were not so thrilled, obviously. I mean, I'm even upset about it because I've been in contact with these people for over a year now. But in Dhaka, it will be a better living situation (I would be living with David and Sara) and hopefully a better research situation. So I should leave, right? What is done is done though, and now we are set to pack our bags again and leave for Dhaka on Saturday. I'm so tired right now, my sleeping schedule is still not on track. I really have only so much energy right now...I hope that everything works out. Hopefully by the time I write the next blog, I'll have something exciting, yet stable to say.

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