Scenes from the Mymensingh Area of Northern Bangladesh 1

Our daily routine:  Get up at dawn when its the quietest, eat a light breakfast, drive for at least a couple hrs to a different region each day, leave the Toyota SUVs and travel by foot, rickshaw or boat to a remote school site.  Meet with the headmaster and staff (typically about 4-6 folks) talk to them about their school, environmental and flood history, measure the property, and buildings, photograph, sketch figures, then reluctantly oblige in a social moment with some of the most hospitable folks in the world as they serve us tea, questionable water or coconut milk right from the freshly hacked open coconuts, biscuits (cookies), fruit and other things.  We had to sit and take some of it hoping that we wouldn’t get sick!!  My team had numerous very remote sites that we’d have to walk 6-7 km each way under the extreme heat and humidity (90F and 90%).  Get back to our hotel by 6-7 PM, shower off the days sweat, eat spicy yummy food, then back to our air conditioned rooms to type up our daily interview sheets, generate figures and compile photo logs for each of the days sites before you forgot what you did.  Friday is the day off for the local so we took full advantage to catch up on our paper work on those days.  If we were all caught up then perhaps a little sightseeing.  The problem with any sightseeing is that Apparently these folks have been totally isolated from the outside world and haven’t seen white folks.  As a result anywhere we went we drew a crowd around us just staring at us.  Some of my teammates had tattoos which really drew attention.  Got a sense of what it must be to be a celebrity-Not interested!  Must have to be completely insecure or totally vain for that.

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