Monday, May 17, 2010

School on a Boat

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I awoke this morning on the roof of the Chhuti with only my mosquito net between myself and the early morning sky. It is extremely hot here, and sleeping on the roof is the only way to ensure I will wake up with at least some fluid left in my body!

It was pleasant sleeping under the stars as wooden fishing boats quietly drifted by, although about half a dozen mosquitoes found their way inside my net and spent the night waking me up whispering in my ear about something.

Elisabeth, Shaheen, and I conducted our first two classes today. We watched as the students at the middle school assembled for the National Anthem and as students made religious announcements: first the Muslim students and then the Hindu students. Interestingly, the majority of the students are girls – the exact opposite of what we
encountered in Nicaragua. This is because many of the boys are pulled out of school to work with their fathers or uncles fishing or collecting shrimp larvae. Bangladesh also has a program in which parents are paid when their daughters finish school, providing an extra incentive to allow girls to finish schooling instead of requiring them to help with work around the house.

The students were generally reserved and seem to be trying to figure out exactly what is going on. However, they are all excited about the field trip on the boat to see dolphins tomorrow. And in fact, the teachers at the school found the idea of the field trip so interesting that the head of the school canceled ALL classes tomorrow so the teachers can attend along with our forty students! Since part of the goal of this project is to promote education in Bangladesh, I feel a little bad that the other 85 students of the school will be missing a day of school while their teachers join our field trip. But somehow I don’t think they mind too much!

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