Familiar Sights and Sounds

This is my second visit to Dhaka. I must admit, I was not as excited this time around. Although this is partially the result of the timing (Dave and I did just get married less than 3 weeks ago!), part of it is the fact that I’ve been here before and know what to expect, which makes it a little less of an adventure. It is also the reason why I have not yet taken a single photo on this trip, but I will I promise!

I arrived early (6am) on Saturday morning. And promptly went to bed! Saturday here is equivalent to Sunday at home (Fri and Sat are the weekend here). So that meant that I had to do a bit of prep work on Sat afternoon so that I would be ready for the office on Sunday morning. My tasks while I’m here are fairly numerous, and I don’t have long to get them all done. I am collecting data to monitor our project, which is possibly one of the most frustrating things one can try to do in Bangladesh. Records hardly exist, let alone easily accessible databases of useful information. Which means a lot of talking to people about the data, and people love to talk. So, that is supposed to take up about half of my time here, and has actually started off alright, as I have only run into the expected road blocks and not any new ones! But at least I have met with a few people so far.

My other tasks revolve around demonstration projects. As part of our project, we need to carry out demonstration projects to show the Department of the Environment how things can be done, basically. We have not yet actually started any, but one is close to implementation, and hopefully the other will not be far off. So, as my role is to monitor the project, I need to determine what indicators and data the NGOs that will be carrying out the implementation of the demo projects need to collect and monitor. This means that I will get to go on a field visit!! Which is actually pretty exciting. The area is not far from the city, and probably its still suburbs, but at least I get to go as far from the hotel as I have ever been, and maybe even see life outside the city core. I will also be visiting a few industries, and that will likely be a bit frightening because I will actually get to see first hand what a crazy polluted mess this country is. There will definitely be pictures of that!

Finally, my last task is to review a manual I helped put together last time I was here on assessing applications for environmental approval. It was kind of cool to see the manual published in glossy format and being used by inspectors. To review it I basically need to get feedback from the people using it, so that it can be improved and made as useful as possible. Based on my one interview today, they basically want a wastewater treatment textbook, not a guidance manual on assessments! But the guy also said it was really helpful, which was also really cool.

Otherwise, I am slowly getting over my jet lag, and am looking forward to some good shopping sometime soon! At the office here, everyone was asking about our wedding, which was really sweet. One man said that in Bangladesh there are three major life events: birth, marriage and death. And now I’ve accomplished two of them. It’s hot here, about 32C every day, though I’m in A/C for most of it. It hasn’t yet rained. The sun is setting at about 6pm, and rising at about 6am. And the food is as it was last time – great at the hotel, if a little on the spicy side!

That’s about all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure there will be more to tell later, other than just work stuff!

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Posted in dhaka | travel | work Submitted by Meg on Mon, 2008-10-20 12:17

nope

Submitted by Meg on Wed, 2008-10-22 18:13.

I didn't write it. I just made it better and useable. Although the update on that is that of the 2 inspectors in the Dhaka Division would could use the manual...one used it all the time, and the second just got it today.

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Hope you get a copy...

Submitted by TheAdmin on Mon, 2008-10-20 14:21.

... of that glossy manual! Is your name anywhere in it?

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