During my trip to Barisal (which is the focus of my next blog) a few weeks ago, we stayed in a guesthouse that is run by TARANGO in Kadambari. The guesthouse is just a few rooms scattered around the building that they use to form the regional office. The building includes a kitchen, health clinic, offices, a weaving production centre, and a courtyard within a gated compound. Our trip was only 3 days (including travel time), so we stayed in the guest rooms for 2 nights.
Left: The street outside of the compound where the guesthouse is. The road has been elevated and built-up, as it’s surrounded by wet-lands (which allow for all the beautiful green you see). Right: The outdoor hallway where you can see the rooms to our guesthouse room (and my bosses room next door).
For our stay I was placed in a room on the bottom floor. I would be sharing it with another young girl. Her name was Valerie, and she was visiting from Germany with her father (who had a room upstairs). They were representing the “Jute Team”, which is our German counterpart and helps to represent and promote TARANGO’s work abroad, and sell Jute products that TARANGO makes within Germany.
The room was very simple, with one single bed and one bunk bed, a table with mirror, a few windows, and a cement floor. The beds felt like wooden boards (the mattress was pretty much a blanket), but we manged. During our first night we just slept, since we had an early morning, but the second night was much more eventful!
Valerie and I were both lying in bed relaxing, reading, and playing with our cell phones. Then I hear her gasp and point. At first I don’t see what she’s looking at, but I soon see a huge spider on the wall above my head! Although I have a bed net, I am paranoid that it’s going to fall on my face while I’m sleeping.
Left: A picture of our room (I know, it’s fancy! 😉 You’re jealous!). Right: The outside view of the building where our room was.
I left the room and went into the hallway (which has a ceiling but only metal bars making up the walls) to see who was outside. In the courtyard I saw our driver, Miraz, who is a skinny young guy who doesn’t speak English. I called his name and motioned for him to come over. I could tell that he was nervous, since we were young girls and he didn’t want to get a bad reputation. However, after a few minutes we convinced him to come into the room, where we were panicking. He laughed at us, and simply plucked the spider up between his fingers and carried it outside. I think Valerie was a bit horrified, but we were both relieved that it was gone, and went back to relaxing.
A few hours later I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t want to overreact and freak her out, but I knew there was an insect in the room. I looked at the floor and saw a big dark object scurrying under her bed. I mentioned it to her and pointed it out. We created a plan of what to do. Although I sometimes have the courage to kill bugs, I had been told that killing a cockroach will spread it’s eggs everywhere – gross! (various articles online say this is either true or false, but I’m not sure I want to take my chances). After freaking out a bit, we tried to shoo it out the door. We stomped and poked and made noise while to get the cockroach into the door, and then tried to flick it out over the door jam. We were unsuccessful, and the cockroach escaped into a crack in the wall – oh no!
Left: A picture of the hallway (from the outside), where our room was located. The courtyard you can see is where Miraz was when we called him. Right: The other half of the courtyard.
Now that it was in the wall I wasn’t sure what to do. We decided to take all our things off the floor and but them on the top bunk – because nobody wants to wake up to a cockroach in their shoe or to have it crawl into your bag and you accidentally bring it home to your own apartment – not ideal! We tried to just chill and relax again but we couldn’t sleep knowing it was in there.
Again we went looking for Miraz, but we didn’t see him. I later found out he was avoiding us to protect his reputation. After calling his name for another minute or two he appeared (because girls calling his name in the middle of the night would likely make people think really bad things!). We were yelling and pointing and he was super confused. He even when to the back of our building and started closing the shutters (I’m not sure why). When he came back around I was trying to explain… saying words like “insect”, “come help”, and “cockroach”. He got this bewildered look on his face, like “wtf is this girl saying?”. He came back with a very long pointed stick, like a spear.
We told him to come into our hallway but he couldn’t because we had been locked into our hall, who does that? They say it’s for our safety, but what is there was an emergency or something? Anyway, eventually the guard came and unlocked the door, and everyone was running around and yelling and trying to solve our problem. Of course, it was 11pm by now so our boss came running out of her room (next door) in her pajamas, to find out what was going on. She got the stick through gate and came into our room, asking about a rabbit, but we were confused. We told her there was a cockroach, and she started laughing. In fact, everyone starting laughing! Apparently the word for rabbit in Bangla is “Corgoash”, and Miraz has assumed that somehow there was a rabbit in our room! That’s why they had brought the spear, to catch the rabbit!
Left: The locked gate (pictures taken the next day). Right: The “spear” for the rabbit.
After awhile they stopped laughing, sprayed the door frame with something from a can, and the bug came out. It turned out to be a giant, black, hard-shelled grass-hopper (I didn’t know that was a thing), and they killed it so it wouldn’t come back inside. Miraz was pretty embarrassed to see us in our pajamas (shorts and a t-shirt is pretty scandalous here), but all’s well that ends well. Thankfully our boss wasn’t mad, and just thought it was super funny.
This story has been told to everyone at the office, often at least 5 or 6 times. Even people who weren’t there tell this story, and I think it will stay in people’s mind for a long time to come. It’s probably much funnier in Bangla, but I wanted to share it will you all anyway. Everyone thinks that it’s hilarious, and I don’t think they’ll ever forget it!