• dykewife

    something topical for athlete’s foot. this will be especially important if it rains. i can’t remember when the monsoon season is, but best to be prepared because once your feet get wet they may well stay that way.

    it will be very hard, in the short time you’re there, to get over the culture shock. my friend said that as well as the sensory overload was profoundly difficult for her. there was always noise (some of her trip was spent in delhi), smells (from strong flowers to faeces), profound poverty and incredible wealth and people. people were everywhere and nearly always in close contact.

    don’t eat or drink anything that hasn’t been cooked, not even salad. only eat fruit that has been peeled. the tales of squat and squirts are true and can be devastating, especially on someone who doesn’t carry a lot of body fat.

    don’t wander off on your own. men there have a very different view of the role and place of women in society. you could find yourself in a very difficult situation.

  • medkid

    Hey Heather just a heads up!

    I’m not sure which anti-malarial you’ve elected to take/which one they suggested for the species of mosquito/malaria they’ve got running around there but larium/malarone/(hydrox)chloroquine can so some crazy things to the ol’ brain chemistry. I never had experienced a depressive episode until I left the country at 17 y/o and spent 3.5 months on chloroquine on which I sobbed every day and went to bed at 6:30 PM. My host family didn’t know what to do with the loca gringa yea! Not that it wouldn’t have developed at some point seeing as the genetics are a party o’ missing neurotransmitters, but now I dance the sometimes graceless dance with chronic depression and have joined the “on meds for life” club.

    SO! If you’re starting to feel a little emotionally bonkers, besides all the crazy different and tough stuff you will see, honestly, long pants and bug spray would have been my better choice (and I’m going to be a doctor in 11 months…look at me doling out bad advice!).

    Be well! Bring Cipro! Don’t eat the ice! :)

  • Anu

    Congratulations! And yes, it will be an unbelievable roller-coaster ride. I am from India, living in the states for the last 13 years. I go back every two years and I’m struck by the scant value for human life every single time.

    I would recommend carrying baby wipes in your handbag. And be sure to take a bag with a zip closure, preferably cross-body so it is in your sight at all times. Cotton shirts (will be super hot and humid), linen pants, no shorts…helps keep bugs and men away…wait…they are the same :-)

    Anything can happen so have an open mind and go with the flow and you’ll have fun. Can’t wait to read about your experience.

  • rasavapa

    A few other people have mentioned it as well, but DO NOT take Lariam/mefloquine as your antimalarial prophylaxis. It can have really severe effects on your metal state, especially on those of us prone to anxiety and depression. It can also cause night terrors and a plethora of unpleasant physical side effects- I took it a year and a half ago, and still have occasional neuropathy and heart problems! Travel clinics usually push it on you, but say no. Malarone and Doxycycline are much, much safer, and the only side effect is a possibility of nausea.

    Have fun, and do you. Thank you for using your voice for something that counts.

  • treetop567

    This is so wonderful, Heather! I know this will change you, and then we’ll get the opportunity to grow, too, when you share what you’ve learned. Can’t wait to hear more!

  • RuthWells

    Holy canolli! What a fantastic opportunity. Have fun and be safe.

  • jlo

    I never travel without a few protein bars. And not to sound commercial, but I take Clif bars specifically because they don’t have a chocolate/yogurt coating — they taste and look the same even after being mushed at the bottom of my bag in 100-degree weather for a week. Also take some packets of powdered sports drink mix, the kind with electrolytes (or better yet, Pedialyte powder). You’ll need it after a bout of the shooting poop. Do every possible thing to avoid contact with untreated water — keep your mouth closed in the shower, brush your teeth with bottled water, be careful about using ice. Eat produce that is either freshly cooked or freshly peeled. You can have salad when you get home.

  • peacegirl

    If there is any way to learn from my experience in international relief work, from which I still suffer PTSD, my hope is that you are able to separate yourself from what you see. I saw so many things I couldn’t begin to describe. I thought I was going to help others and what I really did was experience all through a very ego-centered, selfish place. Whenever I saw anything that upset me I thought it was all about me and I HAD TO DO SOMETHING right then. It made me miserable and my job was compromised. All of this is to say I think you are more mature than I was and know your limits as well as your gifts. At the end of the day, for me, my most important job was to bear witness to the beautiful lives people were living in very difficult circumstances. Sometimes that was all I could do and it was enough.
    May you bring love and light to Bangladesh.

  • nolaliz
  • Just Julie

    This movie is a bit old, but for some reason, what stuck with me when I watched it a few hours ago is this: (oh, the movie was Slumdog Millionaire)
    —when the boys in the movie were little, working in a restaurant, the older boy grabbed a used water bottle out of the trash, went to the sink, filled up the USED water bottle he’d just fished out of the trash can WITH TAP WATER. Then, he put the cap on, and used this little tube of something, thinking it was superglue? and made the water bottle to look as if brand new. . . what a scary thought, eh?
    You ask for bottled water, and you get handed one. Could just be a used bottle filled with tap water.
    then the squirts begin!

  • megmcg

    Don’t eat the thin skinned fruit in the hotel, my aunt says to give it to the kids outside instead of money. They’re hungry and any money they collect gets kicked upwards. And there are cows everywhere. Trashcans are constantly being dumped out in the street for the cows to pick through.
    Indian Cows=American squirrels+Jesus

  • Jennifer Daddio

    You mind will be blown in ways that you won’t even be able to explain. I traveled to Nepal years ago and the only way I could describe it to others was that my heart opened up so much I thought it would explode. That trip changed my life and the way I look at everything today can be traced back the the transformation I went through on that trip.

    Bring a couple of rolls of tp, hand sanitizer and a couple of big boxes of crayons, bags of balloons, or bags of candy. When you come across children begging hand these items out to them. Those little items will bring them SO MUCH joy.

    Best wishes to you for a safe and happy journey.

  • benderhill

    Heather – amazing that you’re getting this opportunity. And amazing that you’re giving your time to help raise awareness for Every Mother Counts. Safe and fruitful travels! Be well. And avoid the poop that doesn’t stop.

  • Heathers Garden

    PDF your passport photo page and email it to yourself. That way if your passport is stolen you can easily access the passport number and provide a copy to the embassy without having to rely on someone at home to send it to you. To cure the jetlag stay awake at your destination until local bedtime. You’ll be exhausted and want to fall into bed (who wouldn’t after a 24 hour plane ride), but it will get you on local time much more quickly. The problem will be the return, it just sucks and there’s not much you can do about it. You’ll be tempted to booze it up to make the horrific flight less horrific, but don’t. Dehydration makes jetlag worse and drinking alcohol on a plane is a quick trip to dehydration. If you must drink (and who wouldn’t on a 24 hour plane trip!), have an equal amount of water with each drink. I also like carrying individually wrapped wet-ones with me when I travel. You’ll be amazed at how many different uses you’ll find for them. But above all, have fun!

  • Heatherface

    When I went to Israel (15 hour flight from L.A) I was jet lagged and just plain cranky by the time I finally got there. An apple perked me right up.

  • srising

    That sounds like an amazing trip! It will be a life changing one for sure.

    As for jet-lag, I also would say melatonin to sleep. To stay awake – just stay busy during the day, stay in the light (it helps the body recalculate) and drink LOTS of coffee and/or black tea.

  • kdw

    I hope you have an incredible time, and look forward to the stories you will tell! Good God, hope there’s no shooting ‘rhea.

  • Jalima

    I look forward to hearing of your travels, very exciting!

    My recipe for jet lag is to stay up all day, drinking copious amounts of wine in the eve, pop a sleeping pill and sleep in next morning. Works for me.

    Holy shit, tight security. Took me three tries to get your mangled word right :)

  • mollymom24

    OMG, it sounds amazing! There was a fabulous article about Christy Turlington in “More” magazine last month. Her film, “Every Woman Counts” sounds like it is brilliant and also a strong reminder to all of us that are fortunate enough to have excellent medical care, that there are others in the world not so fortunate.

    If they didn’t tell you already, pack some loperamide (Lotrimin) in case of the “shooting out the butt” stuff and whenever possible, drink bottled water instead of what you purify. It really is safer if possible but don’t get dehydrated. The fruit is really a good suggestion.

    Enjoy, absorb, stay safe and take lots of pictures!

  • jwat

    I have traveled to Asia and back probably 10 or more times. Here is what I find to be helpful. When you are on the international flight set your watch to the new time zone and try to nap as much as possible during their ‘nighttime’ if that is when you are flying. WATER, WATER, WATER! I try and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and carbonation (I am NOT Mormon) on the flight. It helps SO much. Coming back will be WORSE, always is (going west vs.east or something). The only other thing is when you feel like passing out b/c you are SO tired: STAY AWAKE and sleep when it is time to sleep. This experience will change your life and you will fall in love with this part of the world.

  • victoriasauce

    Amazing! I can’t wait to read about your experience. Have a great journey. It sounds like a huge one.