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Panigram Launches the Apprenticeship Experience!

Posted by on February 28th, 2013

Are you a traveler, not a tourist? Do you thrive on adventure? Are you looking for a completely unique, one-of-a-kind travel experience?

Then become a Panigram Apprentice!

Panigram is excited to announce that starting April 1st we are launching the Panigram Apprenticeship Experience. Three days, two nights, one exciting adventure…

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One Billion Rising Flash Mob in the Panigram Village!

Posted by on February 14th, 2013

On February 14 Panigram Resort joined with activists around the world for One Billion Rising, the largest day of action in the history of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Panigram organized a dance flash mob in their village as part of the One Billion Rising campaign. About 100 women, 100 girls, and 200 men participated in the dance mob as a call to end violence against women and for gender equality.

The mob was lead by more than 80 of the participants in Panigram’s English and hospitality training program and 30 of the resort’s female construction workers; the trainees and workers are all residents of the villages surrounding the resort. Many of the women in the program, who come from conservative Muslim families, were worried about dancing in public. At the practice session the ratio of men to women was four to one, however on the day of the event men and women showed up in equal numbers (though the men were less afraid to step up and dance!) Women in bright red burqa danced alongside young girls in pink dresses. Girls from the women’s college, high school, and primary school tied red ribbons around their wrist and joined the dance party in the town square.

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Goading for Ghur

Posted by on February 5th, 2013

Student Ikram climbs the date palm tree to show us how they collect the sap called "rosh". This sap can either be drunk straight from the tree or boiled into a sticky sweet syrup called "ghur".

I love our students for many reasons, but one in particular is their helpfulness. No matter what Angela and I are doing, someone will offer to assist us.

We decided to go for a walk in the village last week to buy a cold drink. Barely a hundred meters from the classroom door, we met Bashir. After a dozen questions, we managed to convince him that we didn’t need any help going for a walk. A little further down the road, we passed Zia’s laundry shop, where we once again explained that we were just fine. We made it to the intersection to be greeted by Rasedul, Hashib and Abhijan. As Abhijan has a small store, we decided to buy our drinks from him.

Unfortunately, he didn’t have the exact thing we were looking for and, without hesitation, Rasedul ran up the road to another shop to get it. In the meantime, we were instructed to sit and wait. We argued that we were out for a walk, not a rest, but our protests went unheeded. It was unthinkable for our students to let us stand in the street, where we may get tired or uncomfortable. Finally, we got our drinks and returned to class.

Angela and I decided to put our student’s hospitality to the test last week at Ikram’s birthday party. Angela told Ikram (another one of our students) that she wanted to drive a cow-cart and asked who could show her how. To our host’s dismay, his cousin told us that Ikram knew how to do it. So, on the way back after lunch, a passing cow-cart was flagged down and Ikram gave us a demonstration. Angela didn’t get to drive it herself, but at least we have seen how it’s done.

Our next desire was to see how the delicious local drink rosh is collected. Once again, Rasedul and Ikram came to our aid, arranging for another villager to climb the date-palm and give us a show. Up he went, with his billhook and clay pot, cut a channel in the tree trunk, wedged in a peg to direct the flow of the sap, and affixed the pot.

Of course, that wasn’t enough of a show for the demanding English teachers.

“Ikram, can you climb a tree like that?” I asked.

“No, mam.” he replied, with terror in his eyes.

“Yes, he can!” interjected Rasedul, the troublesome cousin.

“Please, climb the tree for us.” we pleaded. How could they resist?

Rasedul tried and made it a couple of meters up before losing his nerve. Ikram, the alledged professional, tied a knot in his lungi, strapped on the billhook and, looking the part at least, set off up the palm. He didn’t make it much higher than Rasedul before posing for photos and sliding back down.

We decided that we should give the students a weekly challenge like this. We are justifying it by saying it will prepare them for dealing with the needs of Panigram guests. Seriously, though, it’s all in good fun! We think that our students are as amused by our curiosity as we are by their generosity!