Testing the Dhaka waters

January 23, 2010

Today was the first day in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We went into an area
called Gawair which many referred to as the ‘slums’. Many parts of
Gawair remind me of home Fatehpur Shekhavati and just made me more
nostalgic. Luckily, the trip to Rajasthan is a week away. My husband,
Tauqeer, and I headed to the small school in an autorickshaw. We were
warned that people would charge us 20 times more so we had asked
around and got a list of prices for things/services we might be using.
We knew that we shouldn’t pay more than 30 takas for the autorickshaw
ride. The guy charged us 40 takas which is fine. I don’t mind paying
that extra bit.

The day was very challenging because most of the students (who are
parents of at least four kids!) cannot write any language (Hindi,
Bangla or English). Because they have been part of Maria’s Project
(who had founded The Dhaka Project), they got to study English, so
most of them cannot speak Hindi but can speak very broken English. So
today, I taught in Hindi and English along with a local person who did
the Bangla translation.

Tomorrow, I’ll be teaching two batches (different timings) Computers.
The language is going to a challenge and most likely, I will have to
remove the people who cannot read or write because it is impossible to
teach them Computers when they cannot read the menu and options. I
don’t think it is rendering them hopeless but I think these people
need to be ‘worked on’ before they can move to Computers. However,
they are still a part of my 8DA of Communications & Public Speaking.

I have a few more concerns on my mind but I will keep them to myself.
Only thing I can say is that if these community people change after
this 8DA, it really will be magical!

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