Map of Bangladesh

Map of Bangladesh
for more detailed map, scroll to bottom of page

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Prices

Sorry it has been so long since I have written.  I've been spending time with Andrew, Leo, and Kevin, celebrating the fourth of July and reading.  I've read "My Life with the Saints" by Father James Martin (a good introduction to the lives of 10 saints, seen through the lens of Father James' life), CS Lewis' Narnia series, and "Not For Sale" by David Batstone (a really moving book about modern slavery). I highly recommend all of them.

We have less than two weeks left in our parish in Srimangal.  Many of my thoughts have turned to gifts and good-byes.  We are giving away everything possible, so that we can have more room for things to bring home.

In class it is Lion King Week for me.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I have taught the high school students the plot and a few of the songs (plus God Bless America on July 4th), tomorrow Kevin and I will teach the same to primary school students, and Friday we will take up the banner once more to teach the catechist masters (like the first week).  The teaching in class is all preparation for watching and enjoying the movie in English with each group later this week.  A Marist Brother (not the “little communist,” but one of his friends) was able to secure a donation for a projector and they use it as often as possible for multimedia learning like this.

Many of you contributed, financially, to the missions here, so I would like to take this time (or, rather, this space, to list some prices in Bangladesh).  Most of these things are items that the missionaries and villagers here need, but as you will see, some of them are more from my own interest. 

*Also note that these prices are based on a lot of estimation- we had to convert Bangla to English, taka to dollars, kilograms to pounds, kilometers to miles, liters to gallons, and memory to paper.

*Price ($)
What this does in Bangladesh…
$0.07
1 pen
$0.13
1 pencil
$0.15
1 pound of cheap rice
$0.21
1 mango
$0.28
1 pineapple
$0.35
1 jackfruit (the national fruit)
$0.40
1 school notebook
$0.40
1 pound of expensive rice
$0.70
Daily wage of a tea garden leaf gatherer
$0.80
3 mile rickshaw ride
$1
School fee for 1 student for 1 month at mission schoo
$1.25
1 kilogram of Bengali bakery goods
$1.50
1 gallon of Compressed Natural Gas (most common auto fuel here)
$2
1 gallon diesel fuel
$2-4
1 chicken
$2.50
Print 30 pictures at local Fuji film shop
$3.80
1 gallon of petroleum gasoline
$3
Container with 220 pieces of candy suckers
$4
100 mile bus ride
$4
Pretty good quality shirt
$4-6
Daily Wage of a CNG (mini taxi) driver
$7-9
Handmade shirt
$8
100 pencils
$9
Good pair of dress shoes on sale
$15
Hostel fee for 1 student for 1 month at mission school
$20
Monthly salary of tea-garden laborer
$20
High quality pair of shoes
$30
Monthly salary of a mission school teacher
$40
High quality local traditional drum (a must in each church)
$100
Baby Pig
$200
High quality Harmonium- very mini traditional “organ-esque” instrument
(a must in each church)
$1,000
1 Cow
$2,000
Motorbike (necessary for some missionaries in areas of difficult terrain)
$14,000
1-floor, 2-classroom building for 100 students
$40,000
1 used Land-Rover
$250,000
St Stephen Hostel at Jalchatra- beautiful, 4-floor building with full kitchen, dining room, and study space for 200 students
$300,000
2-floor, 8-classroom building for 500 students
AND 2-floor fully furnished rectory building with 5 bedrooms, full kitchen, dining room, and lounge
AND 2-floor, 4-bedroom faculty/staff building to house 12 people
AND 1-floor hostel building for 50 students

$1 million+
More land in Dhaka City
$1 million+
New proposed Notre Dame College in Mymensingh District
- 50 years ago, the Congregation of Holy Cross founded (and still operates) the most prestigious college in the country, Notre Dame College in Dhaka, which reserves 15% of its admission slots for tribal students from the rural Holy Cross parishes, like Srimangal

Maybe you can tell from this list that, though some commodities like motorbikes are similarly priced here, most things are much cheaper.  Some things, especially pencils, are even cheaper in the US (and higher quality) than in Bangladesh.  These would be great things to send instead of money.

If you are interested in donating specifically to buy one of the things on this list, or to sponsor a child (or children), please let me know.  Also, if you are interested in learning the prices of other items, please let me know and I can ask- don’t worry, simple curiosity and intention to donate are equally welcome.

One interesting number to note is that the school requires each student to pay about $16 each month total (hostel + school).  On average, each student’s family contributed only $6.40.  The rest of the money, which does not even cover the total expenses of the school compound, comes from donations.  Caritas Japan, the Congregation of Holy Cross, and Bengal Bouts are the major contributors, but much money comes from independent sources as well.  For example, the St Stephen Hostel Building in Jalchatra was built with a $250,000 donation from a group of individuals in France.

 ok picture time... (as today and tomorrow continue I will post more pictures- internet is very slow now)

PICTURES
 first, some more fun with waterfalls...

In Bangladesh drinking water from Bangladesh (not India this time)

he was unaware that I was doing this- just kidding

These two Bengalis were taking a romantic picture and we were too

to enter the waterfall area, it was about 10 cents for a Bangladeshi and 1 dollar for a forenar (or "foreigner") what an outrage! both the spelling and the price

all of our students here in Srimangal at the parish compound

The boys in an advertising campaign for Land Rover- not really, but it kinda looks like it

This spider was suspended between some branches. It was about the size of my hand.

kevin's hand- oh and a big stick bug also

I ate in the boys hostel on Monday and the girls hostel yesterday.  And yes, I spilled the sauce from my plate all over my pants during this picture.  If you look closely you can see it pouring off the plate

I tried to teach them bunny ears but they don't understand that it has to be behind someone's head, but I guess peace is good too

we gave our monkey to a local zoo yesterday.  They will release it into the wild in a month, but first it gave me a good-bye grooming


Jeff

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