Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Bangladesh Experience

There are some things in life that no matter what, can not be fully appreciated unless you experience it yourself. 


There is no way I could say I have any level of appreciation for what it is like to go through childbirth.  I imagine it is something that must be experienced. 


No one can say they understand and appreciate war unless they have been on a battlefield.  Myself included.


Ok so a trip to Dhaka is not equal to going to war or childbirth, but let me tell you it isn't far off.
It is something that you truly need to experience in order to appreciate.  It is like no other place I have ever been. 

If I were to say it was dangerous, you would say to prove it with some statistics.  Well, that is impossible because if there were some data it would be wrong.  There isn't some department keeping track of crimes and deaths and robberies.   They happen and people go on with their day.

If I were to say it's polluted, you would want to show how the wildlife has declined.  Well, no data for that either.  But is is pretty easy to appreciate when normal visibility is under 4 km and the water is tinted whatever color they are dying textiles that day.

If I were to say the people were poor, you would want to know what the average wage is.  Put it this way, the IRS isn't auditing the average person because they claimed a "home office" on their taxes.  Who knows how much money people make there.  But, I can say that right now, at this minute my pocket contains more than the annual wages of most people in Bangladesh and my pocket doesn't contain much.

It isn't the worst place in the world, but, it is the worst place I have ever been. 

Before this trip, I had no appreciation for the circumstances and situation in that country.  Now, I am still no expert but I have a much better appreciation.  My appreciation for how fortunate I am has grown by a tremendous amount.  I just can't believe that a place like that exists on our planet. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

New England - a cold slap in the face!

"Across New England, where relatively balmy temperatures prevailed during the winter of 2009–2010, the upcoming winter will be the equivalent of a cold slap in the face, as we forecast much colder-than-normal temperatures."  This is from the 2011 Farmers Almanac website.  It was from August 2010.

I think they got it pretty close.

(it won't be long before polar bears move to new england)

Not to mention that we have been buried under piles of snow.  Roof leaks from endless ice dams have destroyed walls and ceilings.  You roll the dice every time you try to pull out from a side street or driveway because it is impossible to see.  Children are going uneducated because school is cancelled.  Summer break has been eliminated for all schools due to all the days they will need to make up.

If I was going to pick a winter to be outside the country and in a location only feet from the equator, this would be the one.  Fortunately the coldest place I have been has been South Korea and that was only for about 5 hours where I lounged in a massaging chair, sipped cappuccino, and crunched on Milano cookies.

This week I head to Bangladesh for the first time.  I've heard quite a bit about how bad this is going to be in regard to the sheer madness of trying to move about the country.  I think this trip I will bring the video camera to capture the excitement.  Hopefully I have something fun to share when I return.

But, while I am traveling, my heart is always in New England.  I love the fact that there are four strong seasons to enjoy.  As a matter of fact, I think the people of New England will truly appreciate Spring this year.  The complaints of 100 degree days will be a little less this summer as we remember the winter of 2010-2011. 

Now, if you will excuse me I need to go pack my shorts.