What I Discovered During my First Week in Bangladesh

Wow, I can’t believe the week has gone by so quickly! In August, I had never been to Asia, and now here I am in Bangladesh with a new job, a new roomie, and a whole load of new stories. It’s been an incredible whirlwind with lots of cultural adjustments to be made on my part. I’m learning lots… here’s a quick list of a few things I noticed this week:

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Life in Dhaka is hot, and a little terrifying (in the best way possible)!

+ TARANGO makes a variety of beautiful handcrafted products such as woven bags. The women who produce them all seem very friendly (we even playing singing games when the power goes out in the office)!

– The traffic is bananas, and a 5 min journey can easily take 45 min after you add a couple traffic jams. The aggressive driving can also lead to motion sickness – no fun!

+ The women wear beautiful traditional outfits – in so many great colours and fabrics. I’m excited to get some of my own.

– It never feels too quiet. Will have to work on getting used to the constant horns, yelling, sirens, and whistles.

+ The people are extremely hospitable (especially at our work and guesthouse).

– It’s very humid – which makes dressing conservatively a lot less ideal, and makes sweat mustaches a regular occurrence for us westerners, ew.

+ Many buildings are equipped with fans and/or air conditioning to beat the heat.

– Not many people speak English well, which makes it difficult to communicate. I hope to reduce this problem by taking classes in the local language.

+ I like milk tea with lots of sugar! 🙂

 

Although there are so many differences between Canada and Bangladesh, here’s a quote I like to keep in mind when adjusting to somewhere new.

“What we share is much more powerful then what divides us.”

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P.S. Two days ago, 4 of the other IYIP interns arrived in Dhaka for their placement with Caritas.  Yesterday was Ashley’s birthday, and Rebecca’s birthday is coming up too.  Today, Sharna and I decided to visit them at the Caritas compound, and we brought cake!  They’re still adjusting to the heat, so we hope everyone feels better soon. 🙂

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About Amanda

Hi, I’m Amanda! Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I am currently living with my partner (Steve) in Sucre, Bolivia for the next year. I work in the unique space between industrial design and international development – but what does that even mean? I’m passionate about working WITH marginalized communities in a way that utilizes design to improve the lives of different types of people around the world. I have worked, studied, traveled, and researched on every continent (except Antarctica), and most recently I lived in Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal. I love exploring new cultures and learning more about myself along the way.
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