Friday, September 26, 2008

So This is Research

So I've already broken my 'on Sundays' rule.  But since next week is Eid and I have a holiday break from work, I've decided to take the next two weeks to visit family.  But I thought I would update the world on what's being going on.  So this past Monday, I woke up early for my meeting with Dr. Rahman at IUB.  He said to meet him at his office at 9:30.  Always being the punctual one, I left around 9:00 but misjudged the traffic, arriving at about 9:05.  Better early, than late.  As I waited in the lobby of the building, I wondered how different campuses are here in Bangladesh compared to the ones back home.  I know so many people who base their college decisions on how beautiful the campus is.  That would never be a factor here. Anyway, I finally met up with Dr. Rahman, who soon cut our meeting short because he had another meeting with someone from the CDC.  I was told to wait in another room, which I did patiently for about an hour.  I was called back in to his office, where there were 3 MPH students, another professor, and a guy from the CDC.  I wasn't really sure what was going on, but from what I gathered, the CDC wanted to make some sort of link with IUB.  The CDC representative coincidentally been a Fulbrighter in Bangladesh a couple of years back.  I think I had come across an article about him in the past know, me and my random google searches of "bangladesh" and "fulbright".  Afterwards, Dr. Rahman told me to go with the MPH students (two of whom were doctors) to another building.  There, I just saw where I would be working from now on and got some articles to read.  I  am pretty glad that I am finally able to start work.  Later that night, we got to meet up with Reaz, another Fulbrighter who just got in country last week.  It was nice to finally see him!  We went to the American club for dinner (blah), where we met two other recent American undergrads who are teaching in Dhaka for the year.  

On Tuesday, I went back to work.  The thing is, that all the articles that were given to me I have on my memory stick.  Also, the internet at the university is pretty awful.  Think about dial-up ten years ago.  So, I was thinking it might be easier to get things done at home, but it is actually nice to get out of the apartment.  I was given some extra articles and reports to go over, which is going to take me forever to get through.  Also, I talked to the program manager about getting me a desk and computer.  He said he would get everything fixed by the end of the holiday break, which is next week.  Everyone is so nice and extremely helpful.  Right now, I work in the computer lab and not in an office, and it's funny to see other students coming to check their Facebook accounts.  I guess some things really are the same wherever you go.  I've noticed that it takes me forever to go to sleep...around 2:30 to 3:00, and now because of work I try to wake up around 8:30 or so.  I guess I'm back in the college routine of getting about 5-6 hours every night.  When I got home on Tuesday, I was so tired though...I ended up sleeping through most of the afternoon and into the night.  

Work on Wednesday was a little pointless.  I didn't even get anything done, and ended up talking to Reaz on Gchat for a couple of hours.  I was surprised that Gchat even worked on the computers, but I was glad that it did.  I tried to make up for it by doing some reading when I got back home, which didn't work out as well as I hoped.  That night, I tried to be as productive as possible by working on my handwriting in Bengali.  This was much more of a fun project.  The next day was the last day of work before the big holiday break.  We had a meeting with Dr. Rahman on the report that will be submitted soon on spousal transmission of HIV.  Pretty much, married women are considered to be "innocent victims" if they are being infected because they are only partaking in sanctioned sexual activity (i.e. only being with their husbands).  So this report is calling for the need of female condoms and education for this subgroup.  Something that must be done, despite how difficult it will be.  Later that day, we ate at the American club, met a nice boy, Hans, who just graduated from high school who is doing research at ICDDR,B and will be here for the semester.  I don't know if I would be able to go so far away at his age.  Afterwards, David, Hans, and I went to a party at the U.S. Marine house.  Saw the ambassador there.  It was fine, got to meet some other people who are working here.  I did assume my regular position in such situations by just ending up sitting in a corner talking to Hans.  Oh, I did get to play some air hockey...which was nice.  

Today (Friday), I decided that I needed to walk around and to understand my surroundings.  Also, my phone had no money left in it, so I needed to take care of that.  I first walked to the Banglalink (my cellphone carrier) store which is not too far away.  But I couldn't put any money in it because that part of the store was closed since it was Friday.  Almost nothing is opened on fun.  Afterwards, I decided to walk to the American club because I needed to talk to someone at the office about my bill for September.  I was always under the impression that it would take 20 minutes to walk there, but's just a 5 minute walk!  And a nice one, at that.  My errand didn't take that long, but I was feeling pretty happy with my new found independence, that I treated myself to a coke and a slice of pecan pie.  That is something I miss the most here: dessert.  After that, I ended up talking to a man who spent much of his life in America, but recently moved back.  We talked for awhile, and by the time we was pouring outside.  Soo, couldn't really walk home.  I decided to wait a little, and then I bumped into Ana who was working on stuff.  So I just sat with her for awhile, and Emily came a little later.  By the time the rain subsided, it was pretty dark outside.  I wanted to be brave enough to walk back home by myself, but as everyone who knows me well knows, I'm completely afraid of the dark.  And there aren't any street lights here, so I couldn't see that well.  So I hailed a rickshaw, and the driver couldn't tell that I was a foreigner (since he asked for a pretty low price)...and that made me happy.  It started raining more on the way back so I gave him a little more than he asked ended up being equivalent to 25 cents.  

These have been my adventures this past week.  I will be gone for two weeks; I don't have an exact date of when I'll be back.  So you can wait for a post until then!  

Also, thanks to everyone who has been sending me emails and such.  They make me so happy!  Please keep them coming.  : )

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