Start to meet the cast.

Today was Rozy’s first full day of work. She successfully made it to Dhaka and is working on figuring her way around the city. We spread out on my living room floor with newspapers to look for ads for office spaces for rent. And found nothing, so now we’re going to do what several people have recommended, that is, walk, drive, or rickshaw up and down the streets of an area we’re interested in and knock on doors with to-let signs. We started making several lists. The list of organizations we still need to set up meetings with. The list of office items we need to purchase. The list of various kinds of issues we might bump into with callers. Most of our lists are still sitting unfinished on the floor; first day excitement means a lot of digressing. We started examining, page by page, the training manual that will be given to the volunteers. We have decided that we are going to simultaneously train her and do the mammoth task of translating the document. Because that way we move through her training line by line and it’s as thorough as can be, and we both get to play around with the language we’ll be using with the volunteers.

Pranto Bhai picks us up to take us to a meeting. Pranto Bhai of Team Engine talks a lot and knows everybody. This is both surprising and oddly comforting. He’s the guy who I exchanged emails with before I even set foot in Bangladesh, and he is helping every step of the way. He smokes a cigarette and pauses for dramatic effect as he talks. He is either touched or amused or both at my unwavering optimism. He probably doesn’t want to tell me how naive the optimism is, but that’s okay. In the car, I say something noncommittal about how we eventually need to talk to cell phone companies. Pranto Bhai pops out his cell phone, and suddenly tomorrow we have a meeting with – well, to me the explanation of who the meeting was with sounded like, “The Hugest ever Boss of the Bosses of all the Bosses of all the Cell Phone companies in Bangladesh, all of them, ever, the Boss.”

(This is not what Pranto Bhai said. This is just what it sounded like to me.)

Whoa. I looked at Rozy in abject terror and said feebly, “Oh okay oh I don’t know if we’re ready for that already, are we ready.”

When I express doubt about anything, she tilts her head and reminds me, in English, “Fighting!” which is a phrase I used during her interview to describe the kind of spirit we’d need to actually do this.

She stared back at me with an expression of terror that probably matched mine. Then she grinned and nodded fervently. “Ready! Fighting.”

Oh yes, I think we’ll be okay.


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