The last day in Dhaka was full. We started the day giving individual tutoring in excel, powerpoint and google drive to the DCI staff. They were extremely receptive and eager to improve their skill level. From the beginning till these last hours, the DCI has treated the SHU group like professionals and good friends. We feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to live with and learn from these tremendously committed and dedicated non-profit experts.
This evening the DCI girls danced for us and a few special guests. Their dance teacher has taught them both traditional and contemporary dance moves. In attendance was the director of the girls’ school. After a good hour of dancing, DCI provided a small banquet for everyone – curry one last time.
Our flight out tomorrow has us leaving the DCI office at 3:30am for the 6am flight. We’ll be in Istanbul for a 20 hour layover. If the stars align, we’ll be able to use this time to rest and see the sights.
We’re now pointed east to JFK.
On Jan 1st both the DCI and SHU teams traveled overnight by boat to southern Bangladesh to the Patuakhali region. This is where DCI has numerous projects and over 450 sponsored children (Sun Child initiative). During our stay at the DCI project house we visited numerous recipients of DCI programs including the eye surgery initiative, pre-k school, primary school, women’s community group and pre-k eye exam. Teaming up with the local kids, we all had a lot of fun playing badminton. To our surprise we got to stay an extra day due to the boats going on strike. This delay gave us an extra day in the rural countryside, which to us, was a pleasant addition to the schedule.
Part of the SHU Bangladesh service program was to commit funds to a DCI project. DCI requested funding for a deep well pump for their DCI project house in Patuakahli. This project not only benefits DCI staff and students, but was huge plus for the SHU group as we were very happy to have clean running water where we stayed for 4 nights.
Another contribution requested by DCI was for the SHU group to provide their teachers and tutors with a workshop in teaching methods and basic English. We did this in two sessions that lasted two hours. There were over 70 teachers and tutors in attendance. During the breakout activities the SHU students worked in small groups providing English instruction.
Dec 31 – New Year’s Eve was quite eventful for the group. Though we didn’t leave the DCI orphanage, the group had a lot of new experiences. The day started with the inauguration of the Pediatric Education Development Society International / DCI medical training center. There were several VIP’s in attendance. The CNN equivalent was on hand to interview and record the event. Angie did a very good job speaking for the SHU delegation. It was mentioned “not to worry, only 20 million people will see the broadcast.”
In the afternoon the SHU students played game after game after game with the DCI girls. Later, the SHU students assisted with a conversational English class for the DCI staff. The group continues to have a productive and meaningful experience.
The big event of the day was that evening’s New Year celebration. DCI girls provided a complete presentation which included dancing, reciting poetry, singing and speeches. The program was wrapped up with the group dancing with the girls…till they could dance no more. As seen in the photos, the group was in traditional dress. Adyel wore the punjabi and the SHU ladies wore saris that were loaned to them for the night. The night continued with fireworks going off in the neighborhood. It sounded like cannons outside.
Jan 1 – The group will visit the DCI school in the morning and afternoon. In the evening we plan to board a boat for an overnight trip to Putuakhali. There is no guarantee that there will be internet there, so it may be several days until the blog is updated with Bangladesh news. The DR group will begin posting in a few days, as well as the Mississippi Habitat for Humanity group.
We are very grateful to our DCI host for their thoughtful hospitality and kindness. They are very dedicated to the SHU group having a complete Bangladeshi experience that is safe, culturally rich and enjoyable. Spending time with the DCI children has been one of many highlights of this journey that has just begun. Our first full day in Dhaka was spent at the DCI clinic. The SHU group was introduced to the resident doctor, pre-k class, sewing workshop and surrounding community during the AM visit. The community leaders were very welcoming and were kind to invite us into a few homes to visit. In the afternoon the group visited old Dhaka. The traffic was mind boggling. After several hours inching our way through the city we ended at a Bangladeshi Chinese restaurant, followed by a short rickshaw ride back to the DCI headquarters / orphanage / our home. It has been a very full first day. We are exhausted. We look forward to tomorrow and reduced effects of jet lag.