Arts and culture

Living in Banepa, Nepal, I did not get to see much in the way of arts and culture ….  Actually, I did experience a lot of culture in Banepa throughout my every day – the food I ate everyday and for festivals, the daily commute on local buses and all that comes with that. And the likes of Lok, Neecal his daughter and Rashil the sarangi teacher allowing me to tag along on the Nepalese early morning exercise (walks & yoga), temple visits, getting things made at the tailor like a regular Banepan (I made that up, I have no clue what people from Banepa are referred to).

I was brought along to various concerts, living gods dancing & drinking on the streets (NavaDurgas) … I could go on.  I guess what I am really referring to is organized art like the Bowen Island Arts Council put on so brilliantly.  Maybe I am spoiled at home!  In fairness, had I lived in Kathmandu, I would have had much more exposure to the arts in Nepal. But I digress.  I went searching for an arts council-like organization here in Dhaka and came up with the Bengal Foundation, who seem to be the umbrella organization for bringing the arts to the masses here in Dhaka.  Woohoo!

I attended my first art exhibition today “Water in Light” – an interesting architectural exhibition on the connection between water and light, particularly in a country like Bangladesh, which is in the low-lying Ganges Delta.  Check it out.  Looks like there are plenty more upcoming events, I’ll keep you posted of anything that is interesting. I sure hope they have some documentaries showing.

One gripe (and it is not about the heat – have you noticed I have not complained about the heat?  It’s an attempt to maintain my sanity and believe the heat is a non-issue).  Back to my new gripe.  I refer to the Lonely Planet set of guidebooks as the Lying Planet –  why?  Because their information is almost always wrong.  I am now adding Google Maps to the list, at least here in Dhaka.  What Goog-Lie Maps told me would be a 10-min walk, ended up being a one-hour walk in the midday sun to get to see the exhibition.  It’s not the length of the walk, I had already done my two-hour exercise walk earlier this morning in preparation for the Camino.  It’s the not wearing the right shoes for an hour’s walk and the midday sun part.  So I guess I am slipping in a complaint about the heat, only because Google Maps gave me incorrect directions.  It’s not the first time either Goog-Lie Maps got it wrong.  And before there are any snide remarks, I double checked when I got home and they were wrong.  It wasn’t me … for once.

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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4 Responses to Arts and culture

  1. Renu says:

    Funny… Goog-lie… Hopefully your delicate irish skin is not too disturbed..
    Rabindernath Tagore’s writing and poetry is truly soul stirring..

  2. Katherine says:

    Hi Kate, I’m happy to hear you’re not impressed with Lonely Planet. Neither am I! My reading of a lot of their books is “It’s an us and them world”. I like Moon guidebooks much better.
    I loved your chance encounter. Thanks for writing so much about your experiences.

  3. lalastudios says:

    Checked out the Bengal Foundation, thanks for sharing. xoxo

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