2001.03.21

This is my attempt to keep my friends and acquaintances updated with what I'm doing since my lines of communications are limited. Snail-mail is even slower than a snail now (about 1 month) and email is expensive (2 - 3 taka / minute and I only get 4000 taka / month to live on) and takes a journey to check (1 hour bone-shaking bus ride and a squashed Maxi HumanHauler ride from the bus stand).

Currently (March 2001) I'm in Bangladesh serving in the Peace Corps. Until the end of April 2001, I will be training in Bangla language, learning about the culture, brushing up on teaching skills and techniques, and learning about how to stay healthy in this wild country of Bangladesh.

I have visited the site where I will be teaching and quite like it. It's in a small-ish town, somewhere between 15,000 and 150,000 people, depending on whom you ask. For this crowded nation, that's not many people. It's fairly remote, and yet very close to the second largest city in Bangladesh, and not too far from the hills and the beach and Burma. It's at the southern end of the country and named Patia.

I will be teaching about 100 Primary Education teachers, along with about 50-100 primary school children in the experimental school. I will be focusing mostly on improving people's English abilities. Although they can read and write to some degree, they have not really learned English in a manner that allows them to use it beyond the stock dialogues they have memorized. After teaching my first practice class today in Chittagong (2001.03.21), I know that this is a daunting task. It's going to be like pulling teeth the entire time.

The country is beautiful. It's filled with people that don't speak my language and eat really distasteful food in unsanitary conditions, mosquitoes that spread a myriad of diseases, hot and humid weather, and no hills to speak of to orient yourself by. In short, it's a challenge and a struggle, but I'm going to enjoy it once I get used to it.

That's all for now, because my friends are starting to distract me and I have to go buy food for dinner.

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