Monday, August 2, 2010

Sheer panic!

Last week was a whirlwind of a week, even though Tuesday ended up being a day off from Grameen activities. It was however a holy day (and night) in the city of Dhaka and they prayed all night long. We hear the prayers daily through the speakers, as one is very near the hotel. It was difficult to sleep that night and we had to get up early for a trip to Utrail to visit some of Dr. Ahmed’s relatives. They had invited us to their summer home and it was a nice treat to get away from the city.

I could do this every day!

The summer home was very nice and the scenery was beautiful.We traveled one hour by van, then two hours by ferry and then another 20 minutes to our final destination. We enjoyed the serenity, good company and good food during our visit. Later in the afternoon we took a boat ride near the village. This was my third boat ride of the trip, so I am getting to be a pro at getting on and off.

Catching the ferry back was an adventure in itself. We were late to the ferry, getting there around 10 p.m. The ferry was already taking off so they stopped it and there was a three foot jump from the dock to the ferry. The boys jumped it but there was no way all of the women could do it. So the driver said he was going to quickly put the ferry up to the dock and we need to go through the gate.

The problem was that it happened too fast. Dr. Ahmed, her mother in law,  and several of us made it through the gate with only about a foot gate between the dock and the ferry, while the ferry was picking up speed. Three of the group were left on the dock. So they ran after the ferry and jumped over the side which was about a four foot drop onto people who were sitting. You have to realize  that the ferry is five floors and there were about 200 people watching this happen. They were apparently yelling at the ferry to slow down.
We were all fine and it was really funny and exciting. Considering that probably most people on the ferry had not seen many foreigners and here we are jumping onto the boat as it is speeding away, we must have looked crazy.

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