Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Doya kore aarekbaar bolun, aami bujhte pari nai (please say again, I didn't understand)

On Saturday August 6th (eeps this is soon), I will head to the far-off land of San Francisco, CA for "staging" or Peace Corps orientation. Most PC Volunteers get the opportunity to meet in Washington, D.C or Chicago perhaps, but alas, our group of 60 is headed to SF. After some intense orientation sessions and a whole bunch of immunizations, we will leave Monday morning for Tokyo, then Bangkok (this will be amazing), and then a couple days later, we will arrive in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. These beginning stages will be incredible, especially since I have never traveled beyond the borders of the United States. So here goes.....

Dana, where will you be serving?
I will be serving in beautiful Bangladesh. Formerly East Pakistan, this extremely overpopulated country is known for its Muslim religion, Bangla language, and many polluted rivers. I will be spending the 3 month training period in or around the capital of Bangladesh (Dhaka), and then once sworn in as a v0lunteer, move to one of the many towns/regions that make this country what it is. My official service will begin on November 2, 2005 and I will be back in the states on November 2, 2007.

Why join the PC?
Every reason in the book. New culture. New language. New people who share a common interest in making a difference. With only a few days left in the U.S., my thoughts have moved from FEAR to those of....this is going to be the most challenging and most amazing experience of my life!! I mean what could be better than serving others and developing relationships that will indeed be priceless in the end?

What will you be doing exactly?
There are 60 of us heading over to the Desh. 45 will be teaching English as a foreign language and 15 will be working in Youth Community Development Centers. I am one of the 15 and our job is to work with women and youth (15-30 years old) to develop programs that will best allow these individuals to play a larger role in the community and the political structure of Bangladesh. In past experiences, these programs include English language courses, sessions on confidence building, and of course, integrating technology into the community. I am stoked to be part of this group and look foward to the challenges (and rewards) ahead.

Dana, if I cannot get you out of my head and NEED to send you something in the mail....how would I go about doing this?

Easy as pie:

Dana Elizabeth Mattson
Peace Corps
House 10F Road 82
Gulshan 2
Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh