So I’m jumping on the blog-bandwagon. I figured that for the next year while I’m out of the country in Bangladesh, instead of bothering people with a flood of impersonal mass emails, I would post it all in a one of these hip and trendy blog thingies, so that those interested could read about my life as they pleased. I have an affinity towards digression and half of what I write will probably be more like journal entries for myself to reread one day than anything else... but enjoy...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Great day for a picnic

Ahhh... the annual CEGIS company picnic. It was great. Met down a the office at some silly early hour. Everyone got loaded up on a buses. It was interesting to observe coworkers outside of their work setting. Many brought spouses and children. (Thanks Margot for all the pics!)

On the bus to picnic

The greenery of Bangladesh

These are the random people in the bus next to ours that we barely squeezed pass. Mass transit is always a bit frightening in this country.

Enroute to picnic

The picnic was held at a gorgeous spot on a river just outside the city. It was appropriately held in a field next to successful irrigation project in which there a pump station which pumps water to feed irrgation canals to water crops in the dry season, and in the wet season, water is pumped back into the river and off of the agricultural land.

The day was interesting. It was very reflective of a Bangladesh version of an American company picnic. Of course there had to be a large wait staff and cooks to make us all food and clean up after us. If you have money, you have people to do work for you. Still something I have trouble embracing. We have a 'bua' a lady who comes cleans our apartment and cooks occasionally. It has brought a laziness in us. Is it definitely a good thing to be providing her with a job? I suppose so. But it obviously feels a bit Colonial. But most Bangladeshis will have live in work children or old ladies. I guess it provides an economic good, but also encourages the deep classism that runs in this culture, that I'm not sure I could ever get used to. There is a growing middle class but the way in which you see the upper class treat the lower class is just disgusting sometimes. Anyway, instead of hot dogs and hamburgers, we had biryani, of course.

The organized picnic games were also an interesting reflection various aspects of Bangladeshi culture. We played cricket instead of softball, smash the clay pot instead of a pinata, balance something on your head races instead of potato sack races, throw tennis ball into bucket contest instead of i guess maybe bean bag toss, and my all time favorite... ready for this... pin the bindi on the poster of Aishwarya Rai (everyone's favorite Bollywood star) instead of pin the tail on the donkey.

I suppose what struck me was the fact that women and men didn't play any activity together. It went without saying that hot potato, with use of a pillow, was only for women?? Why? I don't know. Those I work with are all educated and of upper middle class, probably, and many have been educated abroad. Maybe I shouldn't be wrting this, but women are treated as second class citizens in this society. And being a Muslim culture, in which everyone still has arranged marriages, obviously social interaction between the sexes will be limited. It was just interesting that no woman would even consider playing in the cricket game. And one of the contents for the women was the balancing something on your head race, sort of testing accomplishments from finishing school. I know, some of my buddies from work will read this one day and be a bit annoyed at this cynicism, but just expressing some reactions to an interesting cultural experience for me. All in all had a great time, gorgeous day and a time to become better buddies with those I work with everyday.

Oh, and the raffle at the end was great. I guess I'm used to participating in raffles in which some of the money is given to some cause or charity or fundraiser or something, but here all money just went to prizes. I won a glass dish and a small pocelain duck. Yay!

My first cricket match... even though the game was over before I got to bat... *sniff*

I won a glass dish in the raffle... yay!

Pin the bindi on my girlfriend. It's funny how obvious it was that people could see through the blindfold, and the large act people would put on pretending they couldn't see through it. You win if you get it right on the forehead... I pretended I couldn't see.

Smash the clay pot while blindfolded... I missed. This time actually closed my eyes.

Carry something on you head race

Throw ball into bucket


Blogger Red said...

Yacoub, it's June. Happy Late Birthday. Hopefully you've had SOMETHING happen since the end of January. You suck at blogging.

6/17/2006 3:28 AM

Anonymous Savinay Chandrasekhar said...

You turd.

What's up man. Haven't seen you in a while. Hit me up.

9/24/2006 2:12 PM


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