Dhaka is ready for the Cricket World Cup!

Once we arrived at Dhaka airport, even before the visa problem was resolved I noticed how beautified the airport was–and as it turns out–the city–all for the Cricket World Cup which is being hosted by Bangladesh. HOpe to get some jerseys to bring home! Beautiful welcoming signage (I put one photo of sign on FB ), blue and green hanging lights at night.

We stayed at the Quality Inn in Dhaka, where we finally could get some internet access. Food very good there, they fixed a special dinner just for us, because usually they do breakfast only. At breakfast I talked with an Aussie who bred and raised and showed dogs, and he enjoyed seeing photos of Mr. Cooper. He has a goldendoodle now and he too can’t believe he succumbed to a designer mutt mix–and paid for it!! BUt they love their dog.

In Dhaka we visited 3 hospitals, reputed to be western standards, and they were very helpful to see and learn about. Came away much more confident about what we will be recommending and how it might work. Everyone we met with was extremely generous with their time with us. Met a delightful pathologist at one hospital who is US trained, and he had very impressive laboratory services and Blood Bank. THere is not a centralized Blood Bank in Bangladesh that we can find, so each hospital does their own donor blood draws and most are directed donations. Altho, the physician in Dhaka that we talked to knows every employees blood type and he twists arms for donations! When we asked how he went about establishing and maintaining high standards he said: Praise, Punishment and lots of repeating and repeating!

We had dinner at a very nice Indian restaurant (other than the mosquitos which were many), and had our first exposure to Paan, from the word pān (Hindi: पान, Urdu: پان) is an Indian/Pakistani and South East Asian tradition of chewing betel leaf (Piper betle) with areca nut and slaked lime paste. Most paan contains areca nuts as a filling. Other types include what is called sweet paan, where sugar, candied fruit and multi-colored, sweetened, candy-like fennel seeds are used. These we also had after dinner at a restaurant in Chittagong and I posted a photo of me trying this on FB. Once was enough.

We had a 6 pm flight to Chittagong, which is only about 45 minutes, and I slept!! Arrived in Chittagong to also see beautified airport! Got our luggage–huge amount for 5 people, and went outside to the car, only to see hundreds of military folks everywhere, standing at attention. We were pretty sure it wasn’t a greeting party for us, and in fact, it was a because the British and Bangladesh cricket teams were arriving!

The drive from the CTG airport to where we stay is always an experience! So many people, just ending work, stuffed (literally) into small buses and many people walking–amidst the chaotic traffic with tuk-tuks, rickshaws, trucks and cars. It actually is not as chaotic as it feels to us western folks. These people are picking up food after work for their dinner, getting their haircut, selling their wares, visiting with friends, etc. It is a tropical country so it is all outdoors and remains pretty active until about midnight I think.

Arrived at the Chittagong Eye Institute and Training Center (CEITC) safe and sound and glad to be “home”. It was great to see the staff, most of whom were here for my May 2010 trip. Shipon, the wonderful cook, told me about wearing his Red Wings shirt!!

We settled into our rooms, I am room 7, we are on a different wing, same floor, from the May visit. It is so darn grueling getting here, but the people are so kind and caring and generous with their time and attention and love for their country, that it feels so humbling to be offer some assistance for them. It can be very overwhelming, the need vs. the ability to make a difference but just thinking about what Professor Husain has done to eradicate preventable blindness in the country gives us hope and inspiration that we can indeed help them commission a western standard hospital.

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Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 1:57 am  Leave a Comment  

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