Bangladesh Adventures

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Christmas 07 in Noakhali, BD

Once again, we traveled to Nita’s bari (homestead) for the Christmas holidays. Its always nice to be out of Dhaka and the 15 million people. We drove down on 23 Dec with Prova (Nita’s younger Sister); Obima and Obi (cousin’s wife and son) and our family. The drive is normal for Bangladesh 6 hours for about 120 miles with plenty of animals (cows and chickens), buses, and trucks all over the road. My favorite is when a slow bus overtakes a slower bus as you come hurling at them on a single lane road. Even though the buses are coming at you and are in your lane they never think of getting over- they expect you to get off the road and let them pass.

It is always cooler in Noakhali, about 45 to 75 *F but damp. We even made a small fire this year so CJ could roast his marshmallows. You know you live in a third world country when your child receives marshmallows as a Christmas gift and he is very happy. In fact, all the boys and all of their cousins were happy to roast and eat marshmallows. Chase likes them burnt so that helps since the cousins’ had never roasted marshmallows before- they burnt a lot of them.

We took the parish Father and 3 Roman Catholic Sisters to a rural catholic church for Christmas Eve service. We have done this for the last four years- it has become a special family tradition to help the father and sisters plus visit relatives at their small church, maybe 20 feet by 30 feet- packed on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning the boys open their few presents then we go to church- you can see we all wore red this Christmas to church, Prova is the lady at the end.

A special highlight of this break was our good friends the Larson’s (Lutheran Pastors) serving here in Bangladesh with their four kids came and spent 3 days at Nita’s bari. It was great showing them her homestead, school, where I worked and going on long walks thru the rice fields. We even had a big adventure- we drove down to the Bay of Bengal. This was no easy task. They learn a key vice of mine- never say you can’t do something. The road kept getting smaller and smaller but I wouldn’t stop. The Bangladesh government had just recently finished a bridge that took us farther down the coast which I had never been to. The road became a rickshaw path then an old trail but we made it close enough to walk the final kilometers. The Bay of Bengal is more like a river at this point and it was low tide. So the kids (eight of them) had to walk in the mud and splash in the water (see pictures).

One of the pictures is of CJ and Gracia eating supper in typical Bengali fashion- sitting on stools with two aunts pushing the food in. Aunt Prova is feeding CJ and Aunt Pana (Nita’s brother’s wife) feeding Gracia. Gracia has always like CJ since she came here three years ago- she was only one then. The funny part is CJ has always known Gracia likes him so he isn’t always nice to her- We have our work cut out with him.


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