I've been back in Dhaka for five weeks now, and I've been keeping busy learning about infectious diseases and nutrition. A few more weeks of classes here (aging & reproductive health), and then project work full-time. I've finally ironed out my objectives, so hopefully it will go smoothly once I start. I have to find a couple research assistants, though, to help with translating. I hear that the selection process can be a daunting task...
Since returning, we've moved into our new home in the city. BRAC has a residential building in Niketon, not far from one of Dhaka's hubs (Gulshan 1). It's been nice to be so close to restaurants serving things other than rice. The noise and air pollution have been a bit of a change from Savar, though, and when we first moved in our room (I'm sharing with Vanesse) had a serious mold problem--luckily that now seems to be under control. The weather here is already starting to cool down, and I think the bulk of the rain seemed to have happened while I was at home. I'm looking forward to the cooler seasons--though I've adjusted somewhat to the climate here, my body seems to prefer a more temperate lifestyle.
I had a nasty run-in with the flu a few weeks ago, and was stuck in bed for a couple days. Sadly that meant missing fieldwork for a group assignment. The following weeks, though, gave me the opportunity to travel to Nilphamari, in the north of Bangladesh, fairly close to the Indian border. It was about an 8 hour drive from Dhaka, and with 11 other people in a van, the trip was certainly an adventure. It was a truly beautiful area--quiet and clean, and the people were even less accustomed to seeing foreigners than they are around here. Our assignment had us looking at the operation of a recently piloted integrated nutrition program in the area--really interesting, and it afforded me a lot of time to attract a large crowd of children to be entertained with the camera.
I also realized that I have photos still to share from a trip to an arsenic affected area. Again, mostly of children, because they are typically the only ones willing to be photographed. But, Sonargaon photos, too.
I'm also very happy to report that my Fulbright extension has been granted, so I will officially be able to stay through the end of the year. While I'm sure part of me (the part that eats) would like to go home sooner, I'm thrilled that I'll have the opportunity to stay a bit longer. Another experience like this might be hard to come by, so I'm going to try to take full advantage of it during the next 4-and-a-half months.
That being said, I'm now trying to figure out exactly what I will do after these 4-and-a-half months are over--the real challenge. Suggestions are welcome!
I hope to post a little more regularly for the remainder of my time, but I certainly can't promise anything, considering my track-record. I guess we'll see what happens...
[My new and ridiculously slow internet connection doesn't want to load photos now... will add them in soon!]