Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekend Updates

I wanted to post a few updates (and photos!) from this weekend before I head to the village of Ehklaspur today. I'll be in the field with Atsu, Morshed, a Dhaka Univ. student/interpreter and 3 Japanese interns (although Morshed and I come back after 3 days, while everyone else will stay 5). They'll be gathering data for the trial version of the GCC's "One Village One Portal" project- recently renamed 'GramWeb'. It's a village network project to give villages/villagers a place to produce and share data about their village to others and ideally produce income (think web advertisements and selling information reports to international NGOs) and connect with the community (job sites, matrimony sections, village wish-list for policy makers to view, etc.)

It took a week but we've determined that I will be consulting on the visual communication of the GramWeb site, the Village Information Profile (VIP) document/tool (think the statistic report/manual to be used by the Village Information Entrepreneur (VIE) or local data collector/site owner). I need to wrap up some suggestions before I head into work and we head into the village- so I'll leave you with some brief updates.

Over the weekend visited more of Dhaka University, including some fantastical old structures and dorms with my coworker Luku and later my former CM-Q colleague Faheem and his wife Naumi.

I had lunch at Luku's house with his family and later him, his wife Asma, a coworker (Iqbal)and I visited the picturesque Jahangirnagar University about 15 km outside of Dhaka and then visited the nearby National Martyrs Memorial dedicated to the Freedom Fighters.

I met Faheem and Naumi at the New Market (it's 50 years old but eh- the name stuck) area. Sort of like Souq Waqif in Doha but authentic instead of reconstructed. Here's the view of the bridge on my way to meet Naumi and then a view looking down from the barber shop where Faheem was getting his head shaved! (It looks good though! And cooler!)

Faheem and Naumi took me to the memorial of the Mother Language Movement- dedicated to the fight of Bangladeshis against Pakistan imposing Urdu as the official language. The Bangladeshi struggle is the reason behind the UNESCO's International Mother Language Day every year on Feb. 21st. We later had coffee at a cafe and later dinner at Naumi's parents' house. Yummy stuff.

Updates on the village visit in 3 days!

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