We’ve found a good source for quenching our hunger for native food this past week—the hospital “cafeteria.” The mess hall, as it’s also called, is a small building next to the inpatient wards (large rooms with about 20 beds each, one for men and one for women) with some picnic tables out front. As we don’t know exactly what’s on the menu, and the proprieter (a Bangla man with his two young sons) doesn’t speak English, figuring each other out is always an adventure. Not sure how to pantomime such things as “rice” and “vegetables”, we got some friends of ours to write down the Bangla words for some of the menu, so I put it into use.

I walk into the shop. “Mach bhat? One? Cha?” (Fish and rice for one? Tea?)

“Mach bhat?” he replies.


I walk outside and sit down at the picnic table. That seems to have gone well. There’s a bunch of smiles inside the shop, presumably because it’s funny that I’m trying out this little experiment. A couple minutes later, the younger of the two boys working at the mess comes out to me.

“Machka bhat?” he asks. Hmm, I thought we had this figured out already. The words sound a bit different, but I think we’re talking about the same thing.

“Mach bhat.” I confirm.

Some expression of understanding dawns on his face, and he runs back inside yelling “Machka bhat!” with a tone of triumph. I smile and wonder what my plate will actually contain. Sure enough, in a few minutes, I get a plate of rice, and two little bowls of fish (that is, fish curry) and veggies (that is, veggie curry). A small miracle has taken place. The tea is tremendous, and the fingers of our right hand are stained yellow because there are no utensils, and eating with the left hand is considered “unclean”. Smiles all around and I’m out the door with a tasty lunch and a great cultural moment for 44 Taka (60 cents).


Anonymous said...

I'm loving it that you are in Banglaland! Can't wait to see all of the photos when you get back. Praying that God's Presence will be with you as you tend to your patients.
All for Jesus,

Anonymous said...

Please eats lots and lots of "bhat" for me! :) Cha is good, too! Don't forget about the great "rosha gula" balls (AKA ameoba balls!).

Would you mind taking some pics of some of the employees? Shuki, one of the female OPD medics, is an excellent cook! If you want to take cooking lessons, she'd be a great teacher!

I'll quickly end by saying that I'm so jealous of you! May "Eeshurd" bless you and keep you well!

-Rachel G

ellen said...

Sounds great! I'm so glad for the experience you guys are getting - medically and otherwise. The food sounds divine. I'm getting hungry...

Anonymous said...

I love your perspectives. Your descriptions come to life as I see the faces of some of my own Bangledeshi patients and recall their stories.

Rachel, somehow you and the coconut look a lot alike in that picture. How did that happen? You make me smile over and over.

As you are in Bangladesh braving the rains of monsoon season and repairing fistulas, Renee is in Honduras helping the villagers dig out from Felix that came ashore at a category 5 and Audrey is in Cameroon casting out demons! What an incredible group of magnificent warriors I have the privilege to know and pray for. I hope you all know how proud I am of you and how much I love you.

Anonymous said...

Eric and Rachel! It is so good to hear what your life is there! Its wonderful to know that you are doing what you've had on your heart for so long. It gives me hope that God will continue to show me what my future will be.
Love to you two! (oh, and if its okay Brian and I want to spend two days with you guys over fall break) ??
Blessings, Jena