2001.08.14It looks like I? going to have to start making these entries into different pages. I have not been able to edit the original document because the size is getting too big. It has been my goal for quite some time to reorganize this ongoing project into a more readable, appealing, and user-friendly site, but I have not found a computer yet to do that on. The computers I use are all internet connected and so I pay by the minute for using the internet even if I? not really using it. I need to find some computer time for simple word processing, not internet, and then I can adjust things a bit.
I have spent the past two days traveling around Chittagong with the Program and Training Assistant, Ahsan. We visited with the Marine Academy, the Seaman? Training Center, and orphanage, and the Department of Youth Development (and the Patenga Sea Beach since we were near by where I dipped my feet into the Bay of Bengal for the first time in my life!). It was a productive few days, but I? a little apprehensive as I?e been sort of indirectly assigned to start giving some time to the Marine Academy for the next few months. It? not related to the military in any way, but is run just like it. It will take a good two hours to get out to it and will mean that I?l have to take a day off from the P.T.I. every week to do it. I? committed to working full time at the P.T.I. as a full-time staff member, so this kind of throws a wrench in my plans, but it? just temporary. The next batch of volunteers will bring a permanent volunteer for this post.
They are bright students though, and their English is far advanced from any that I?e seen. They only accept the top 3% of applicants between 18 and 21. They are sharp and the classes are limited to 30. It will be a challenge to teach more English to such a smart group, but I?l give it a try and see what I can do. I have reservations about it, however, because one of the Peace Corps development criteria is that the help provided by the volunteers reaches those who are among the most needy. These students come from privileged families however and will make a large amount of money when they become captains and first officers of merchant vessels. Well, like I said, we?l see how it goes.
The P.T.I. is continuing to improve. My optional English class students are showing promise and dedication and I? going to try and match that with enthusiasm and effort on my part. People are coming to my staff class, up to 9 at a time. And I?e finally defined my role within the curriculum, at least in a philosophical sense, and I can build upon that. So work is slowly progressing.
In other news, I? thinking of having a count down or something. Another person has left from our group, and one from the batch before us. That leaves 17 in my group. Not yet 6 months in Bangladesh and 48% have left to return for America. The next person will push us into the minority. Given the rate of leaving, I wouldn? be surprised to end the two years with only 10 alumni. I hope I can make it!
There? lots more I want to write, but as usual, I? out of time. I?l put in some extra effort into finding a local computer to word process on so that I can have better updates. Hopefully this page 2 will work. Please let me know if it does?
See you in two weeks.