Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bangla Training

Bangla LanguageHolly and I started our part time Bangla Studies this week.  They are testing a new method of training for short term volunteers that will give us basic oral communication skills.  The existing set method is more traditional in that it focuses on how to read and write prior to learning speech.   This new method will really give us a quick head start in communicating.  We learned about 300 new words this week (greetings, family members, animals, kitchen items, numbers, colors, body parts, household items, directions, etc.). I will try to post a link with a typical video clip we make during the sessions as we complete a new group of words.  We have been doing the studies out of our home, first thing in the morning for 2 hours before we head to the office then again for 1 hour in the evening.  In the photo is Nancy, Holly, Jon, Derjedon and Shawne. (Derjedon is our teacher and Shawne in on the language committee).  As you can see in the photo the weather is starting to cool down so we have been wearing our sweaters in the early morning hours (gets down to a low of 15C - brrr, but gets back up to 30C in the day).

Awnek Dhonnobad


Thursday, November 22, 2012

MCH Project Team

We have had an interesting past few weeks, between trying to get settled in, attempting to learn some language, exploring our surroundings, tasting & smelling new foods and primarily getting immersed in the project.  Holly and I have just spent the past week back in Dhaka working on project details with the national architectural/structural/mechanical firms doing the design as well as exploring what products and materials are available in country and the quality of such (from stores and on construction sites). Tonight we just arrived back down in Chittagong in order to meet with another engineer in the morning before we continue south to our home at Malumghat for "American Thanksgiving" dinner on Saturday.

Photo to the left of the "on the field" project team tucked away in our little corner of the doctors' office (A good place also to learn about tropical medicine -hundreds of books on the topic all around us there).

At the moment Holly and I are the only full time project personnel, however we have been very thankful for the fantastic team of professionals back in North America that have given their time to discuss issues and bounce ideas around with.
(Photo to the right of Jon at the Dhaka Guesthouse taking up the entire dining room table trying to get some work done between meals.)


Monday, November 19, 2012

Malumghat Home

We spent last week being introduced to our new home and neighbors in Malumghat and reviewing drawings and construction details for the new hospital.  The MCH hospital compound includes the existing hospital, an elementary school, a nursing school, a workshop, a canteen, a soccer field, and various apartments and homes located near the back of the property.     
We were surprised by the size and comforts of the home we will be living in (right).  It has been vacant for the past two years since the family living here returned to North America.  It has some mold and mustiness issues since it was unoccupied and due to the humidity in this area, and needs some general cleaning up but we are making great progress with it.  On the main floor we have two bedrooms, an office, two bathrooms, a dinning room/sitting area, a kitchen and wrap around porches for laundry, etc. Lots of room for visitors! The second story is mainly a open area which I have been told was used for parties in the past.  We are looking forward to having veggies from our section of the gardens (bottom right) in a few months. Meanwhile, there is a lot of variety at the market in the nearby town.


Cox's Bazaar

Last weekend we traveled to Cox's Bazaar (about 1 hour south of Malumghat) for a meeting and to check out some building construction examples.  Cox's Bazaar is known for it's extremely long sandy beach which extends 125 km south of the city.  Before heading home we continued our trip further south and enjoyed a ride on the truck roof rack down the beach.

In the photo to left, locals are playing a game of cricket with fishing boats on the beach in the background (more photos in the Gallery).


Friday, November 09, 2012


Holly and I arrived in country Monday and have had a busy week traveling around meeting with all the national designers for the MCH project.  We arrived at our new home in Malumghat late last night and quickly tried to settle in and recoup today (Friday is the day off in Bangladesh - day of worship).  It is great to have internet access here in Malumghat, although it is quite painfully slow with our current setup.  We will work on getting some photos uploaded of our new home soon.



Istanbul was an exciting city to be able to explore and relax in for a few days.  It is an incredibly historic city at the cross roads between Europe and Asia. We stayed in and spent the majority of our time in 'Old Istanbul' or Sultanahmet which is a world heritage site packed with many wonderful sites such as Aya Sofya, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Spice market, etc... A few photos have been uploaded to our  Photo Gallery.