You probably don’t come to uncultured.com for hard hitting, up to the minute financial news. But, if you didn’t know already, the Canadian Dollar now is worth more than an American Dollar. There are a few reasons as to why this has happened: there is the strong Canadian economy, the US economy (with the war, increasing debt, etc) is possibly weakening, or it might be an attempt by the US to be able to increase its exports while decreasing its imports. Whatever the case, I’m pretty happy about this because the project will be able to benefit from this.
I arrived here in late June and I am currently devoting my entire time (read: no job) to this project. So I’m basically running on my personal savings and donations from family. To make things less of a financial burden for those that had donated to this project – instead of giving me X amount of US dollars, I asked them to give me X amount of Canadian dollars instead. The less money I asking of them – the better I felt. Turns out that decision was win/win. Because – 4 months since coming here – the Canadian dollars I’ve held on to are now worth more. Which means my personal expenses cost me (relatively) less and I now have more taka to spend on the project.
As a Canadian, I’ve lived all my life with the fact that the Canadian dollar was always worth less than the American dollar. Not only that, in all my previous trips to Bangladesh – it was often very hard to exchange Canadian dollars. We would usually convert our money into US dollars before coming to Bangladesh. Canadian dollars just weren’t a commonly accepted currency for exchange in Bangladesh. Now not only is it easy to exchange – it’s starting to become the currency of preference. Isn’t that great, eh?
I am probably the last person in the world who should be trying to do a project in Bangladesh.
I realized this from talking to Mikey Leung – a fellow Canadian in Bangladesh. Like me, Mikey is here to try and make a difference in Bangladesh. He works for a charity, raises money for flood victims, and is working as an IT professional in Bangladesh. But, unlike me, he has no extended family in Bangladesh. For me, having family has made this project feasible – I don’t have to worry about spending money for a place to stay, I get great home cooked meals, and I can even bum a ride most of the time. But, more often than not – it means I’m restricted in where I can go and what I can do.
As a kid, I used to resent this overprotectiveness. As an adult, I now realize that this overprotectiveness comes from a family traumatized by their experience in Bangladesh…. Continue reading ‘A Family Traumatized By Bangladesh’
I actually started my first blog over eight years ago. I had stopped when I came to a realization: I’m boring. Writing about my life isn’t at all interesting. So, when it came to making a blog for this project – I tried my best to avoid blogging about personal issues. In hindsight, that was a bad idea. There are a lot of good stories that I haven’t talked about simply because they didn’t connect with any issues directly relating to the project.
For example, there was this time when I had to fight with Arab security at an airport in the Middle East. They had confiscated my Notre Dame branded Nalgene bottle because they said it was too big of a water bottle to take onto the plane (even though I had been permitted to bring it on board my connecting flight by airport security in North America). I refused to leave the security checkpoint without it. This was admittedly a very bad move – my passport was confiscated and I was surrounded by security forces. A female family member who had traveled along with me tried to plea with them. This only angered them because apparently, in that country, women are forbidden to talk to men who aren’t family. How we were able to leave in one piece – with my Notre Dame bottle returned to me no less – is quite the story.
Unfortunately, not every story has had a happy ending…. Continue reading ‘What Do I Have To Show For All This?’