“Are you really in Bangladesh now?!?”
“What are you doing there? What is life like over there?”
I know. It’s a little fascinating at times that most of the new people I meet always get shocked, or I should say, excited when I tell them that I am living in Bangladesh! I really would love to give them a detailed answer but normally, we just have a limited time so I can’t really elaborate my answer.
Considering the aforementioned situation, I had a meeting with me, myself and I in the conference room of my brain and I concluded that it would be interesting to write out my answers so I can also give a much better thoughtful response using a good chunk of time.
Now, it’s finally here. The answer to the top FAQs of every person I meet the first time, after mentioning that I live here in Bangladesh, a beautiful green pasture. “Wait, did you say ‘Green Pasture?!?'”
Yes, you heard it right. Bangladesh is literally covered with green meadows especially in the rural areas, but this isn’t what the world considers to be a so-called “greener pasture.”
Alright, enough beating around the bush since I don’t want to make you wait too long. 🙂
1. Why do you live in Bangladesh?
This is the top question I am asked in any first time conversation. Well, I came here first of all because my husband is a local of this country and I am here to support him in his desire to do his share in penetrating this nation with the seed of the gospel. That was the theme of our sacred union anyway–to join as lights together for Christ.
2. What’s the general flavor of Bangladeshi food?
Bangladeshi food is generally hot and spicy. The main spices present in every dish here are onions, garlic, plain cumin powder, plain turmeric powder, plain chili powder. bay leaves and garam masala, a fragrant blend of ground spices used in Indian cuisine, often containing black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, and turmeric.
I have learned to cook local Bangladeshi dishes and they are pretty simple and easy.
Watch out for some recipes I would share with you in the future.
Now, I have to debunk the myth that Bangladeshis, just like Indians, eat just chicken curry everyday. I would say that it might be true for other families but not for ours and the other Bangladeshi families I know.
We have what we call “Daal” or Lentil soup, “Shak” or sautéed greens, “Alu Vorta” or mashed potatoes, “Daal Vorta” or mashed lentils and many more for lunch and dinner.
upper left: Fish Curry; upper right: alu vorta (mashed potato with fried onions and mustard oil) lower left: crab curry; lower right: sautéed water spinach (kangkong)
Daal Vorta–mashed lentils in mustard oil and chopped onions
Here’s a typical Bangladeshi set of meal: chicken curry and shak (any vegetable tops). Chicken curry can be replaced with fish, shrimp, crab or assorted veggie curry.
Fried eggs, boiled tomatoes and boiled fish with greens. See? These dishes don’t have so much spices.
In our family, we usually prepare Biryani (see photo below) and fried aubergine when we have guests at lunch or dinner. If we serve Pulao rice, we pair it with chicken or beef curry.
Yummy Biryani-a mixture of steamed aromatic rice, meat, spices , potatoes and other optional vegetables.
I hope I didn’t make you drool by showing these mouthwatering dishes. Please come and visit us sometimes and I’ll be more than willing to cook these dishes for you.
3. Describe Bangladeshi people.
Bangladeshis are beautiful people in and out if you get to know them deeply.
These are friendly college girls I met years ago in the village and I praise God for the privilege to share the gospel with them. They were quite receptive to the gospel. They did not outwardly profess faith in Jesus Christ right there and then, but I was thrilled to hear them ask questions about God.
Generally, their generosity is displayed when someone visits their house. They wouldn’t come to your house empty-handed. If you invite them for lunch or dinner, they will give your household some sweets in return.
Bangladeshi sweets come in different shapes and colors. They also have varied flavors but the main ingredients of these sweets are milk and sugar.
They are also very hospitable. Take a look at the caption of the photo. While coffee is popular in the US or in the Philippines, tea is the common drink served to their guests.
Bangladeshis are so hospitable that they serve whatever they can despite their poverty.
People here are creative. Their love for arts is depicted in their folk dances, music and clothing. (I’ll talk about clothing later.)
Part of any program intermission is either a folk song or any traditional dance number.
4. What’s the primary religion of people over there?
Approximately ninety percent of the people here are Muslims, most of them though are just nominal ones. In the village where I stayed, people are mostly Hindus. It is said that around 8-9% of her population is Hindu. Only a little percentage of people are Christians, Buddhists and of other religion. I learned later that you can tell a person’s religion in this country by his or her name. No wonder my husband’s name has a Christian influence.
It’s our earnest prayer that we could reach a few of these unsaved souls with the gospel.
Alright, I guess these would be all for now since I know that you might need to run an errand after reading this but please consider praying for us as we continue to stay here and shine as lights together for Christ.
Watch out for the next part of this post.