Picking a path through a pineapple plantation, standing out of the sunroof of a van driving through a tea estate, seeing monkeys swinging through trees and spiders the size of my hand, drinking seven layer tea and countless cups of cha, watching the sun set from a rowboat, and getting caught in monsoon rains.
After the center meeting, we toured the village with some of the borrowers and spoke with them individually about their involvement with the Grameen Bank.
Grameen Bank has a hierarchical structure to its operations. With the borrower as the basis, the Grameen Bank can then be broken down to area offices, branch offices, centers and groups. The descriptions of the various levels of the structure are explained below:
5-10 borrowers of similar education and socioeconomic status, not from the same family
8-12 groups; Weekly meetings to collect installments
60-80 centers; Where members go to receive loans
Collection of branch offices; Computers hold data on all borrowers
Coordination of area offices
Most days start out at the headquarters of the Grameen Bank, so I thought I would take a few pictures of what I see at work. There are lots of flags for the World Cup all over the city - most people were supporting Argentina or Brazil early on, but for the past week there were also a lot of flags for Germany and Spain.
Today was the first day of my internship at the Grameen Bank. We spent the first couple of hours filling out a few forms and listening to a short introduction to the Bank and its history. After a break for lunch, we came back and watched a few movies about social businesses, the Grameen Bank model, and a few movies about successful borrowers. I met some other interns who were also just starting today. The work day is different here - the hours at the bank are from 10am to 6pm, and the work week is Sunday through Thursday. I know it is just psychological, but it gives me the feeling that the weekend is starting earlier and somehow lasts longer. It was also kind of strange to have my first day of work on the 4th of July - I’m sad to miss out on the fireworks.
On Tuesday we will be taking a day trip to one of the bank branches, and next week we will be going on a five day overnight trip to another branch. I’m really looking forward to the visits!
One train ride from Vienna to Munich, one flight from Munich to Dubai, one seven hour layover, one flight from Dubai to Dhaka, one piece of lost luggage, one recovery of said luggage, one successful arrival in Bangladesh.
These are pictures from the Kunst Haus in Vienna and the accompanying Hundertwasser apartments only a short walk away. I’d been meaning to go to the Kunst Haus since I got to Vienna. When I finally realized I was running out of time to go, I went and it was definitely worth it. There was also an exhibit on controversial photographs throughout history that I managed to catch on its last day. I really like Hundertwasser’s style, though I like his architecture more than his paintings.
Despite my terrible track record at updating my blog regularly, I’ve decided to keep it for the summer while I am traveling. I will be going to Bangladesh (less than one month before I leave - I’m so excited!), and I read that Facebook has recently been banned there. I’ll do my best to update this to stay in touch.
I figured that “Coffeehouses and Konditoreien” doesn’t make much sense for Bangladesh, so I’m changing the title as well.
I’ve got a bunch of pictures from Prague and Berlin that I haven’t put up yet, so I’ll try to post them soon! I just have to get through two presentations in the next week and then I should have some free time.
I know part of it is that I am taking a course about the terminology of architecture (which basically means we study churches), but I am crazy about the vaulting in churches. If you walk in to a church with me now, you can count on me looking up at the ceiling first thing, and then probably taking a picture of it. Although I still have to work on the terminology (please do not ask what inspired me to take a class in German about which I know nothing about in English), I find it all fascinating.