I learned a few things myself this week during our ‘journey’ to Bangladesh. I had always thought of it as a ‘tiny’ country over by India. I really had no idea that it is one of the most populous nations in the world (7th largest population).
The book that we selected from the library was a little bit too dense for the kids, but we had fun scanning through the pictures and talking about what life might be like in a small village or large city in Bangladesh. There was one chapter that talked about children growing up in poverty, and it mentioned that although kids didn’t have many playthings, they enjoyed playing games like hide-and-seek. For some reason this really resonated with my kids — a common bond over one of their favorite games! And, of course the wanted to talk about Bengal tigers (as luck would have it, we saw one at the zoo while we were on vacation a few weeks ago).
We also found a website that translated the letters of your name, or any word for that matter, into Devanagari, one of the forms of script used in Bangladesh. We printed out the kids’ names in really large font, and they decorated them to look like calligraphy painintngs.
Our two biggest projects were pottery and cooking Bengali food. We learned that throwing pottery is a traditional trade in a number of villages. I don’t have a pottery wheel, but we did manage to have fun doing some hand-building. And, I’m pretty sure the villagers in Bangladesh focus more on throwing bowl and pots, rather than animal-shaped Christmas tree ornaments. Hopefully, we will be able to have these fired soon (thanks, Laurent!)
Finally, I decided to try my hand at a homemade Chapati (flat bread), Dhedosh (Okra) and Masoor Daal (lentils) The chapati was surprisingly easy and satisfying to make. It was definitely a recipe that lent itself to having a 5-year old sous-chef. Deirdre loved making balls with the dough and rolling them out flat. And, I was thrilled to make the okra since we actually grew it in our garden this summer. Yes, the picture at the top of this post is okra straight from the garden! whoo hooo! I had to leave out a couple of the more exotic spices since I didn’t have them in stock, but the meal was actually very tasty. I’ll definitely cook my okra this way for the rest of the season.
Next week, Czech Republic…