Holly and I just celebrated the start of a new year here in Bangladesh. This year we were able to bring in the new year by taking a midnight swim (well more like a quick dunk) in the pool. It was a bit cool out (14C) but nothing compared to the polar bear swim back home.
We went for a boat trip on the Khala beside the compound today. Holly and I have been hoping to make it out there for a while now. It was good to see the area West of the compound that leads out to the Bay of Bengal. We will upload some photos to our photo Gallery.
Holly and I both experienced our first earthquake here on Saturday night (about 10:45pm). We had just arrived home from meetings over the weekend in Chittagong, when we felt the house shake and creek. At the time we were not sure exactly what it was as we had never experience one before. I thought it might have just been a really big gust of wind. In the morning we found out it was a magnitude 5.5 that lasted only about 4 seconds in Northwestern Myanmar as everyone was talking about it and how it woke most people up.
It took a bit of work, but we finally have our Christmas tree up. We were given an artificial tree from one of the houses of people on furlough, just to find out that the wood post had been eaten by termites! So we had 50 branches with no pole. Thankfully we were able to describe what we needed to the workshop and they made up this new post. The down side with artificial trees is that without ornaments to fill the voids they don't really look that great? We plan on going to Hearthouse to see if the ladies there can make us a few little things to put on the tree. Maybe even a couple stocking for over the fireplace.
On Wednesday we went for an official tour of the MCH campus (44 acre property where the hospital and our house is located). There are many programs that have developed out of the hospital work and to support the hospital work. One of these is the nursing college where they train national nurses to work in the hospital (many leave for more lucrative jobs after working the required time at MCH).
The manikin in the photo above lost an ear to a rat (s?) one night so now they store him in a box (coffin) at night. The skeleton was donated by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency).
The elementary school kids were writing exams so we tried not to disturb them. This little girl must have been waiting for a sibling and appeared to be posing for pictures for us so we took her up on it. The massive concrete slide is very popular.
Heart House hires widows and physically disabled people to make handicrafts and helps sell them throughout Bangladesh. They also sponsor village and tribal sewing centres.
The multimedia centre has a recording room where they put together health education videos and other various videos which are shown at the hospital
This quiet room is very tempting right now since the religious broadcasting that is coming through our window is quite loud, of poor sound quality and has continued for hours today. Basically it sounds like someone is shouting into a loud speaker 10 feet away. Sometimes it is music, or recordings in Arabic, and sometimes people speaking live in Bangla. Sometimes we just hear a pause and then "Hello?.....hello?....heeeellllloo-o." I guess they want to make sure someone is listening!
We are continuing to keep busy with Bangla language classes and the hospital project. We are focusing on the electrical design right now since is not as far along as we had anticipated when we arrived. This includes looking at each room and department and talking with hospital staff about what will be needed in the new hospital (equipment power requirements, outlets, lights, fans, etc.). A lot of the medical equipment used at the hospital has been donated from outside of Bangladesh leading to a variety of North American, European, and UK plugs. It gets particularly interesting in the labs and OR's.
Lots of technical stuff to talk about, but I think I will let baby Enoch steal the spotlight just like he did when he paid a visit during the staff tea time last week.
Enoch's mother died giving birth to him prematurely at home and he was sent to a Korean run orphanage in Chittagong. He was then brought here to Memorial Christian Hospital (MCH) because he had pneumothorax (collapsed lung). It was very touch and go for a few days as various issues were encountered during treatment. Thankfully he pulled through under the care of the hospital staff and has now gone back to the orphanage where he will be brought up and educated until he is an young adult.