Afzal: “no i’ve never met Dr. Yunus.” Guy: “yeah, i’ve met him… 3 times.”

In Uncategorized on July 6, 2010 at 4:04 pm
Been so busy these past 3 days!  Finally, I get a bit of free time to reflect on the experiences in these past couple of days.

On July 4th, Afzal and I left Dhaka and headed for Chittagong, the second largest city in Bangladesh. After arriving in the afternoon, Afzal and I decided to get settled in, do some reading, and yes, we explored the city. The first night, we ate at a place called Hotel Zaman: this restaurant is very famous with the locals. As a matter of fact, Dr. Moshuir told us that there is not one person in Chittagong that doesn’t know of this restaurant! Anyhow, walking around the city was quite an eye opening experience and as you walk, you began to notice differences and similarities of the people here, as compared to let’s say Dhaka or Satkhira. First, the people here are noticeably more wealthy. You wouldn’t be able to guess, but glasses, something in Canada that we just take as normal, or something that we don’t speak/think much about, says a lot about a person’s status and place in society. Now, glasses with thick western bands on the side, that says even more about your job and education. In Chittagong, it is noticeable that many of the people here are quite wealthy, and most are upper class. 

Yesterday, Afzal and I, along with Dr. Kemal and Dr. Moshuir, decided to visit some farms, and go with them on their field visits— as a part of their contract with CDVF, they must pay the farms monthly visits to ensure the health of the cattle. Now, I must say, the highlight of this day was when we were waiting in a small part of the town for some of the farmers to come, and most of the kids (8-10) were getting off of school. I began to snap pictures of them, and the next thing you knew, there were around 30-40 kids dressed in uniform surrounding me. 

In a village, in Chittagong.

I'm trying to speak to them. Clearly, they have trouble understanding me! Can you spot me?

It was quite an experience trying to speak with them, and when i asked them about the world cup, boy, did they have an opinion about it! By the way, as i mentioned before, most Bengalis are either Brazil or Argentina fans, but now that both teams are out, they’re cheering for Spain!!! But it was such a heart warming and amazing experience to have met all of them. And despite the language barrier, and me struggling so hard to speak to them, i could tell that they understand what I was trying to say , and likewise, i could understand somewhat of what they were tring to say!

 Today, Afzal and I didn’t do much, but go around town and explore the city. We saw giant torteoise and fed them, which was super cool. We also went to Chittagong University, where Dr. Yunus was a professor at! It was just great seeing where Dr. Yunus came from, and was totally Afzal’s idea, but I’m so glad I agreed to go— not that i had much of a choice lol. But boy, am i glad? And as we were in the car, we were reflecting a bit, how urban poverty and rural poverty differs.

Me feeding the giant tortoise!

But the highlight of the day, we visited Jobra village, which is where Dr. Muhammed Yunus, first founded Grameen Bank!— that’s what i recall Afzal saying!—Afzal even met a guy, around our age, who has met Dr. Yunus, not once, or twice, BUT THREE TIMES!!! Wow!!! 

Let’s just say, that was by far, the coolest thing ever we’ve done in Bangladesh so far! Anyhow, Afzal and I are probably going out in the town to see some more attractions and hang out with the locals. Maybe we’ll even watch the Spain game on the streets with them, who knows? 

The plans for tomorrow, well Afzal and I, yes, will be going to Cox’s Bazar and will be spending the weekend there brainstorming and what not. For those of you who have never heard of it, google it! And Yes, be jealous, be very jealous 😛 

By the way, Afzal is awesome, for taking all my  pictures! So here’s your shoutout biya! 😛

Jobra Village: Where Grameen started.

By the way, here’s a picture of a school in Jobra Village!


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