Bang: Day One

We arrived into Dhaka this morning [Feb 20] at 5 am. Getting here was the best international travel experience I’ve had yet, and probably because Etihad Airways is the equivalent of Aladdin’s Magic Carpet becoming a savvy business tycoon. Especially when we arrived at Adu Dhabi – the capital and second largest city of the United Arab Emirates [think Dubai] –  for our lay over, the camels and hookahs and items of luxury surrounding me made me feel like I was being offered a real chance at becoming Princess Jasmine.

Water.org India staffer, Nayakam, is here for the week to lead and accompany us. He picked us all up from the airport like a trooper – one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. [Coincidentally, Nicole and I were on the same flight with two of the Nick News crew guys.] A pick up truck with a cow in the back, some brightly painted trucks, and a few early morning markets later, we were able to try and get a few hours of sleep before we went to a few slums for pre-visits, as we officially begin everything tomorrow.

View from my hotel window, 19th floor

Our first stop, Board Gurd slum, a community in need of access to safe water.

A woman washes her dishes, as the animals behind her also share the water.

Collecting water; sandy banks, some of the community's slum is in the distance, as well as behind my back. Kids were swimming and skipping rocks in this water.

Mark and Marty get their shots, Nicole shows the kids' their pictures, and the women in the background wash dishes.

In the background: hanging latrines, as they are suspended over the shallow waters. This water is also shared with animals, used for bathing, cooking, and drinking.

Brick kilns spread all over the horizon, much like windmills you'd see in Kansas. The sky is always hazy from pollution. And this was a sunny day...

Salepur slum, which now has access to safe water because of Water.org and our local partner, DSK :D wahoo!

Nicole and Raque, a DSK staff person, interview a safe water beneficiary about life before and after the project.

Rice fields...and I seriously saw a squirrel here too. ?!!?

Collecting water

Tomorrow we head back to Salepur so Nick News can do more filming. The producer met with the kids today and talked with them a little bit about what it is for – a program in the US for other kids just like them, to teach them about water in other places and kids like themselves – and what we will do with them tomorrow. The plan is Nicole and I will try to talk to some more community members, capturing our own pictures and video.

The people here are incredibly warm, beautiful, and gracious, as they’ve let us completely invade their worlds. I’ve written down some main Bengali phrases that I tried to use – hello, what is your name, nice to meet you, how are you, how old are you, etc – and will keep working on throughout the week.

More to come. Goodnight, good morning :: Asalammu Alhikkum!

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7 Comments on “Bang: Day One

  1. This is so cool Erin. I’m sure it’s heartbreaking to see some of the conditions there, but what an experience! The portraits of the people are incredible. Are you taking those or someone you’re with? Excited to see more!

  2. Hi Baby…enjoyed your pictures. Sure makes you appreciate what you have at home. Enjoy your experience there as the time will fly by. So glad we can keep in touch this way. We love you, Gran and Pops

  3. Wow!!! Great photos, it looks like you are seeing/learning SO much and getting to interact/meet lots of people. I can’t wait to hear more about your trip. Love you!!!

  4. Thank you for keeping us posted! I love all the pictures. I can’t wait to talk when you get back. “Cook-dinner-and-chat” date?

  5. Ha, that little green car looks like it drove off a ferris wheel! Glad your visit is coming along so well.

  6. sooooo awesome erin! keep the updates comin’. that photo of the airport lobby makes it look like a disney movie for sure!

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