Breakfast: To eat in Bangladesh is a challenge. Yes, for many locals here it is a daily struggle just to have enough money for food, but for us it is also a challenge. Not because we cannot afford the $1.00 is costs to have a decent meal, but because finding food that is clean to our standards is nearly impossible. You can walk down a street and see many food vendors, from a distance their food looks edible, but when you get up close you realize how wrong you are. Flies, Garbage, dirt caked spatulas: all ingredients for very sick foreigners. This morning finding food was once again a challenge. WE finally settled on eating from a local Jepatti shop. Litton and Jason instructed them on how to make our food. It was pure ruckus.
1. 1. Fresh new Dough must be made, with clean water and oil
2. 2. When rolling the dough, roll it on Newspaper so it does not touch your countertop
3. 3. Clean and “sterilize” your wood heated (the last time we had Jepatties the cook top was heated with Dung… YUCK!) Cook top and spatula.
4. 4. Let the oil heat up on the cook top as to kill germs
5. 5. Then once Jepatties touch the cook top, DO NOT TOUCH THEM WITH YOUR HANDS.
6. 6. When they are cooked flip them on to newspaper in the foreigners hands!
Man this seems pretty straightforward…but it took almost an hour for us to get our Jepatties and when I saw the “fresh” dough come out with dirt chunks I was nervous to say the least. My Angel is working over time here, and nope! I didn’t get sick. Jepatties for you who are like me and have no idea what they are…are like a cross between a tortilla and pita bread…somewhere in the middle…not super tasty by themselves…but at least SOMETHING~! We had some peanut butter and Jelly I ate mine with and it was quite filling!
That little Jepatti shop was so packed that morning: 10 in our group plus the other 50 men when came out to see us. I swear if we could just charge admission to see the foreign girls we could make a killing ;) It was so bad at one point that our WHOLE van was surrounded by men with their faces practically pressed up to the window! Our driver Nickel came over and started chewing the out, saying “come on they are just eating!! Leave them alone!’ The men wondered off for a few minutes and then were back again.
After breakfast we were off to go see the village schools. We all piled into a small rickety boat. The bottom of the boat leaked. The few slates holding us above this leaky bottom were broken and creaked with each step we took. The edges so close to the water, one had to perfectly balance the weight in the boat, and one false move would send everyone in to the water. Perched on the edges of our tiny boat, we headed down the river. The sun was high overhead and the heat was pounding down, pulsating with every move of the boat.
We visited three schools. All were well maintained, but not much more then a small corrugated tin building, with a chalkboard, bench desks, and a few “posters.” These schools are very nice by Bengali standards, yet shockingly primitive to my jaded eyes. All the children were dressed in their crisp maroon uniforms, all heads are shaved short, Hindi dots positioned on most girls foreheads, and big, bright, dark, eyes analyzing my every move. Each school greeted us with flower leis and sweet bouquets.
The first school was visited was called Malikhali. This was the original place that the Waids were hoping to put their orphanage. Here there are many beetle nut trees and coconut trees. WE got fresh coconuts...and man were they odd. They cut the tops off and we drank the “coconut” water and then they cut them open and we ate the gooey coconut stuff inside. For any of you that know me well, you know that I do not like Juices and such and this was very hard for me choke down! I only took a few sips and then discreetly passed it off to a child! Jon I think you would have really liked that Coconut water…and I would have liked you to drink it for me!
The second school we visited was a boat ride away…passing on the river we got a non intrusive look into these villagers lives. I quietly observed a weathered old woman washing her dishes. Mud caked around her ankles, her sari wet with worn seems, and her wrinkled hands methodically washing her dishes in the murky water. I gazed in disbelief as a young girl tosses fishing nets into the water, and giggles as she toppled into the water to cool herself off. Life here is hard. These people get up everyday and work just to live just to survive.
The boat ride to the last school was miserable. IT was SO hot and I didn’t think that I could take it anymore. My orna draped over my head, my body begging for a breeze. I could literally feel the sweat dripping down my back. When we finally made it to the muddy shores of the last school I was so relieved. All the children greeted us. Complete with a welcome song, memorized greetings, the school song and motto, and I was even asked to say something to them! Here we enjoyed a fabulous lunch (well at least it was for me, Jehanna ate a whole Chilly thinking it was a green bean!! LOL), with three different types of Bora and we give hand made fans!
AS we headed back to the car I was beat. I literally felt like I had been beat up. But the 2-hour van ride back helped me recuperate and the day was finished with a little shopping and some dinner. Sleep came quickly even though I was curled up on a hard bed.