Name that fruit!

Name that fruit!

This is a fruit I have used in Chinese cooking, but always canned, never fresh!  It is an amazing fruit eaten fresh.  Martha and I saw some passengers carrying bags of these (leaves and branches and all) on the plane from Dhaka to Chittagong.  We wondered what it was–our guesses were radishes, daikon, or maybe some type of berry–we were wrong as we found out when we were served these tonight! 

I haven’t written in the blog for a couple of days because my camera is broken.  THe lens won’t retract, and the hospital photographer examined it and he can’t fix it.  It is less than six months old, so I am hoping covered by warranty and service plan (Christopher–is it??).  Doesn’t sound like purchasing another camera here is much of an option.  Everyone buys their electronics in Bangkok.  Oh well.  Thankfully Martha is graciously sharing her photos which I will use in my blog!  Thanks again Martha! 

THe camera broke on Tuesday when we were visiting a 500 bed private hospital which will provide clinical experience for the students in the Nursing College we are planning for the first year and until the new hospital on this site is complete.  Seeing that hospital was a humbling and inspiring experience.  Humbling as always to see so many sick neonates, infants and children and to see the worry in their parents’ faces.  Inspiring in that the quality of care was impressive and the caring and compassion was so evident from everyone.  The physical environment is not at all high-tech or glitzy, and there isn’t the hustle and bustle and noise of American hospitals.  We observed appropriate treatment methods and good clean and sterile technique.  We will be returning to this hospital to have more in-depth conversation with the Principal Nurse and Matron Nurse.  I did get some photos from our visit and when I get my broken (sigh!) camera back I will include them.  

On Wednesday May 19 we were able to visit Katachara Pediatric Clinic in the village of Mirsarai–the village where our host was born and raised.  The drive to the village was probably about 30 miles, but takes 3 hours to get there!  Traffic until way out of Chittagong is vehicle to vehicle in at least 3 different directions.  It did get better as we got further out, and then it is horns and passing and many close calls, but the driver never flinched!! 

One of so many philanthropic projects that our host has is a school in his village.  The Pediatric Clinic is adjacent to the school and parents come with sick children from very far away to see a doctor.  The school is a coed playgroup to Grade 10 school.  We were able to present the playgroup class (like kindergarten) with some EMU coloring pages and I want to be a Nurse coloring books and crayons: 

Play group classroom Mirsarai, Bangladesh (village)



school children very eager to see the "pale" visitors!



Grade X students


outside the pediatric clinic


Martha, Reaz, Chris


After visiting the school and clinic we went to our host’s home in the village.  HIs son tells us this is where he is most happy and comes whenever he can.  We were treated to fresh coconut right from the trees–a machete was used to stab a hole in it and then we drank the water which is loaded with electrolytes!  We also got to see a coconut opened up and ate some of the meat! 

stabbing the coconut with a machete


being fanned while we drink our coconut water!


the machete and the coconut!!


Reluctantly we left the village, and headed back to Chittagong.  Many sights along the way: 

along the road (more like a narrow path) on the way to the village


along the roadside...


On the return trip to Chittagong we stopped at an antique store in the shipbreaking area.   

 Spread along the shore of the Bay of Bengal, just a few miles north of Bangladesh’s second largest city, Chittagong, lies a stretch of beach (more accurately described as tidal mud) occupied by seven different companies. For the past 35 years this has been the world’s primary site for the dismantling of large ocean-going vessels, including oil tankers. 

The metal from the hulls and superstructures of the ships are re-processed, and form a major part of the country’s source of steel. Also, every fitting, from doorknobs to toilets is removed and resold though the dozens of store-fronts that line the highway near the yards. Nothing goes to waste. Even the last drops of oil from the tanker’s holds are drained and resold.  THe dismantling of the ships is all done by hand. 

THe shop we visited had marine antiques, supposedly (hopefully since I bought something!) from these ships: 

Inside the marine antique store, ShipBreaking Yards, Chittagong, Bangladesh


Strip Mall, Chittagong style!


We returned from our journey to the village with so many images and memories and feel so fortunate to be able to experience and observe life at the village level on the opposite side of the earth from us! 

Thursday we worked (are working pretty much 8 am to 10 pm every day with a couple of hours off for lunch and rest.  Thursday afternoon Reaz took us to Foy’s lake for a boat ride.  Foy’s Lake is a man-made lake. It was dug in 1924. It has a small zoo and an amusement park, managed by the Concord group, is located here. The lake is next to Batali Hill, the highest hill in Chittagong Metropolitan area.  In some small (very small) way the scenery on the lake was ever so slightly reminiscent of Sleepy Bear Dune lakeshore! 

Is this Sleeping Bear Dunes lakeshore or is it Foy's Lake, Chittagong, Bangladesh?


 Last night we were invited to our host’s apartment in the guest house and we got to meet his wife, his sons, his daughter-in-law and his adorable grandsons!  I need to get knitting a couple tiny teddy bears for those boys! 

And here is the answer to question:  The fruit is Lychee!  The skin is easy to peel, the fruit is grape-like in texture and appearance (an albino grape) and is mildy sweet and very pleasant.

Mohammed Kaisar serving lychees 5-20-2010

Til the next time…

Published in: on May 20, 2010 at 11:48 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Outstanding!

  2. yes! we ate lychees in Bali – freshly peeled and wonderful. not a flavor I had experienced before, but very good.

    trip sounds amazing so far!

  3. Interesting stuff! Looking forward to your next update!

    You’re not missing much here – I’m not sure that we’ve had more than 1 warm day since you left. It’s like you took all the warm weather with you.

  4. Excellent post! I have a real feel for now for your experience. Love the pictures in the village and the road. Looks like a fantastic experience with fantastic people.

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