An Update from Bangladesh
We are safe and well!
We are having a great time in Bangladesh. The first two days were spent touring the capital city of Dhaka, which was a bit overwhelming. The sounds, the smells, the mass number of people, and the amount of poverty was hard to observe. I have never seen something this prevalent in my life. It nearly didn't seem real. You can view more pictures on facebook if you'd like here.
The begging is hard to see because it's constant and many of the people begging have severe deformities or are very young. The open air markets are equally beautiful and disgusting...if that's possible. :) After two days of seeing the capital it was a little overwhelming, so yesterday when we got to go to Uttam's Place (website: http://southernasiachildren.com/) and watch the girls, most of whom have been with the program now for several years, it was so encouraging to see how effective this has been for them in the midst of their very difficult realities. The program provides them with a meal (side note: they eat rice and vegetables with their hands here. The little girls giggled every time I dropped rice. I miss utensils!) I ate the curry chicken that they served the kids and actually enjoyed it. I was worried a bit about the food, but because we are here during the Muslim Ramadan fast (and 90% of the country is Muslim) many of the restaurants are closed. This means we've been eating lots of American food which makes daily life easier for us. Our room at the guest house is air conditioned and so comfortable. The program at Uttam's Place also does English tutoring with the staff here and has several computers set up with Rosetta Stone and other English language learning programs. The girls are assisted by some young women who have aged out of the large Assemblies of God orphanage here and live in a transition home beneath Uttam's Place. They help translate and work in the program while they gain life skills to live outside of the orphanage. The orphanage (Home of Hope) is where we're going today. The Uttam's Place girls still live with their families in the slums and attend their local government schools (which is only a 2 hour school day here...so they spend the whole afternoon at Uttam's Place) to keep them connected to their communities as much as possible. The people here also assist with their medical needs. The program was so well set up and the people who ran it were clearly passionate and effective; they are all from Bangladesh and work with the Assemblies of God here. It was a very encouraging day after seeing the very depressing and desperate situation in the city here. Thanks for your continued prayers for our safety!
We can't wait to share more pictures and stories soon!