Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Bangladeshi Lunch

Rockin' one of the new outfits
Well, the holiday is over here and today, people started to return to work (the work week here is Sunday - Thursday).  For Roslyn and I, that meant it was time to get the show on the road and get to work on our projects!  While we're in Dhaka, one of our main goals is to hire research assistants to take into the field with us.  These assistants will work primarily as translators and will help us conduct our interviews.  The first step to hiring, though, is to get a list of potential assistants from someone at ICDDR,B (the research institution we are affiliated with), and get copies of their resumes.  We were both feeling a little under the weather today, but dragged ourselves out of the apartment into the heat and craziness of the city and made our way to the office.  Unfortunately, once we got to the office, there were no list or resumes to be had.  The man who usually handles such things was still out of the office on holiday and we were told to come back sometime later (I'm told this sort of thing happens quite often and sometimes it can be difficult to get what you want).  While we were in the office, though, we managed to visit several other necessary people and ate lunch at the staff canteen.  Given our crappy states (pun intended), we ate some rice and protein and that was about it.  We will go back to the office (to show our faces and try to move things along) on Tuesday.

From the left, the sister-in-law, Shifat's husband, Shifat, me
Yesterday, we were invited to Roslyn's friend's house for lunch.  Shifat (the friend) worked with Roslyn and my advisor, Mary Shenk, as a research assistant when they were here in Bangladesh last year working on the big project.  Shifat was recently married, and so she wanted us to come to her and her husband's new home, and she promised to cook for us.  We were both very excited, as we still hadn't had a real Bangladeshi meal!  The food was absolutely outstanding!  We had some vegetables, potato pancakes (of sort, which were crispy on the outside and had mashed potatoes and meat on the inside - yum!), chicken with a spicy cream sauce, and a sweet rice pudding for dessert.  Holy moly.  I was stuffed and totally satisfied.  The company was also great.  Shifat is sweet and very smart and we talked with her for a couple of hours.  We (well, really Roslyn since I still know very little of the language) also talked with Shifat's young sister-in-law for a long time.  She is probably 12 years old and certainly had a mind of her own!  She told us that she wants to join the military when she is older because she wants to do something for the women of her country.  Roslyn decided she'd make an excellent professor of Women & Gender Studies.

Eating is an interesting experience here (as are so many other things).  Most people eat with their hands, although silverware is usually available, but eating with the left hand is culturally inappropriate.  This is tough when eating something like chicken, which we usually use both hands to eat.  I did my best to get as much chicken off the bone with my fork in one hand and spoon in the other.  Eating with the right hand is especially difficult for Roslyn, because she's a lefty! 

Eating Bangladeshi food is also interesting because, apparently, until your digestive system becomes used to it, you can have quite a lot of stomach discomfort.  That's the boat we're both in.  I was having stomach cramping and making several trips to the bathroom throughout the night (ick), but we've been drinking plenty of Gatorade and are taking it easy for the rest of the day (and probably eating toast for dinner!  haha).  Neither of us has a fever or any other symptoms of something more serious, so we just have to let this pass.  Literally.  (you're welcome!)

It looks like we'll be working from home tomorrow, since there is no work to be done in the office for another day or so.  It will be nice to have a leisurely day.  Then, tomorrow evening, we are going on a river cruise!  We will get to tour the rivers of Dhaka and see the sun setting on the river.  I am SO excited - it should be beautiful!  I will take lots of pictures and report back to you soon.

Until then, I hope all of you, my lovely readers, are doing well.  Take care of yourselves!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, your poor digestive systems! I bet you're glad that you brought a mini-pharmacy over with you! :) You look lovely and I hope you are enjoying your boat ride!