I went to the first team meeting on Saturday morning. It was very informative. Sample support letters, Bangladesh info(I'll give some of that within this blog) and a few customs we were made aware of.
We have 6 more scheduled training meetings before we leave for Bangladesh in mid-January.
The $3200 we are hoping to each raise covers flights, traditional clothing, lodging, meals, in-country transportation, translators and project donations.
Personal costs include, passport, visa, vaccinations, and foreign health insurance. This amounts to about $350.
Vaccinations are not required but the advised list includes, typhoid, polio, tetanus, hepatitis A & B and MMR. Malaria is not warranted in the area of the country we will be in.
Appropriate clothing is essential and will make a huge difference between being accepted by people and being able to build relationships or being an object to stare at. Women must wear sandals and shalwar kameez. Isn't that a beautiful outfit. Pants are designed to cover ankles and one size fits all. The shawls should be worn to cover the bosom area. Feet are considered unclean and sandals are worn in order to slip off easily and not cause someone to touch their feet while removing.
Taka is the local currency. The exchange rate is about Tk.70 to $1.
Some interesting facts about Bangladesh. Its capital city is Dhaka.
Population is over 141 million.
The language is Bangla and English.
It is 83.3% Muslim, 10.5% Hindu and 2.2% all others.
Their major industries are, jute manufacturing, cotton textiles, food processing, steel, fertilizer, rice, jute, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, beef, milk, poultry.
Climate of Bangladesh is subtropical with temperatures ranging from an average daytime low of 70 degrees in the cold season to a top of 95 degrees in the hot season. It has 3 main seasons. The monsoon or wet season(from late May to early October) the cold season from mid-October to the end of February and the hot season (known as the little rainy season) from mid-March to mid-May. There is also a cyclone season, May to June and October to November.
Bangladesh was East Pakistan until 1971 when it became independent after one of the shortest, bloodiest wars of modern times and renamed Bangladesh.
We will be working in the schools in Telegu and Kanpuri communities. They are some of the worst slums in Dhaka. They are migrants from the south part of India and is considered part of the lowest caste of Hindu society. Most houses don't have running water or electricity. Infant mortality rate is very high. The menu consists primarily of rice, dal (lentil soup) and spinach. Malnutrition, tuberculosis and a variety of skin diseases are common.
Bangladesh is one of the first countries Food For The Hungry began to mission when they were founded in the 70's.
The staff in Bangladesh are a diverse group with about 30% Christian. FH does not require the staff to become Christian in order to work with the mission group.
Food For The Hungry's community to community(C2C) partnership is a relationship between a community in the developing world and an American church. By getting personally involved with the poor, churches are able to work towards lasting change within the context of a strong relationship. FH strives to facilitate true transformation for both American church and the international partner community.