2001.05.24

Another update. What's up with that? Well, every time I go to Chittagong for the weekend, everything is closed because Friday is the holy day. New market is where you can buy everything. I want to get a better camera (you get what you pay for and I didn't pay much for mine in the USofA) and a bicycle. Maybe a few other things as well. So, since Thursday is a half-day at the PTI, I decided to make a run into CTG.

Well, as you may know, my emotions are easily disrupted and I only went downhill when I found out that New Market is also closed for a half day on Thursdays! It has the same hours as my PTI. When will I ever get to go shopping?

So I walked around the city a bit, shrugging off the constant calls of "hey bondhu" (hey friend) and "hey brother, come in please" which they say to every foreign looking person and don't know any other English. I walked into a few shops that had camera signs to no luck.

Usually I can shrug off all the people that say "hello, what's your name" and "how are you" because I know they are eager to try out their English and that it's really all they know. Sometimes I pretend that I don't know English and just reply "bujhi na" (I don't understand).

But of course I got bummed out after a while and decided to head to the cyber cafe to console my sorrows. On the way, someone walked up to me and said "Mr. Myq" which is what they all call me in Patia. The thing is, I had no idea who this guy was at all. I'm pretty sure he's not from my PTI, and maybe he's from Chittagong PTI where I did my practice teaching, but really I had no idea.

Well, I wasn't that bummed at the time, just frustrated I guess. I can't speak Bangla still except about certain topics in controlled situations, I stick out like a sore thumb (or a pink elephant in downtown Chicago traffic), and I'm still not understanding how everything works. So I hope in a tempo headed up to GEC mor and at one of the stops I just wanted to cry. There's beggars everywhere, and lots of children beggars. But this little blind girl, probably ten years old but the size of a 6 year old, came to the back of the cramped tempo to beg. Her little brother (I guess) was guiding her. Her eyes were completely glazed over with cataracts I guess. She was the most adorable little girl I've ever seen in my life. She had a look on her face of such innocence and actually she seemed happy despite her dirty appearance, torn clothes, matted hair, and disfigured eyes.

I wanted to cry and am almost crying as I type this.

I haven't given to any beggars in Bangladesh yet because I don't know if I'm making things worse or really helping them. I haven't resolved that yet. But I was almost ready to hand over some change to her. But before she could get close enough, the fare-taker pushed her away, hit the top of the tempo twice (the signal to the driver to go) and we motored away...

Such is life in Bangladesh

To top the story of, it took me 45 minutes just to log into my email account because the connection is shaky today and they'll probably charge me for it.

Well, I feel a lot better after that little cathartic whining there. Thanks everyone for your support. I'm off to Patia for another try. I don't know if I'll be back next weekend for an update since I'm here this week. But then again, I need to get a camera and bike, so we'll see how it goes....

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