I found a bit of myself in Bangladesh.
I volunteered at ADRA Bangladesh from 1 January to May 2016. More post to follow.
I really enjoyed using a rickshaw to go to the project I was teaching at. A few of them took me a few times and it was nice to see a familiar face. When I asked them for their pictures they seemed to be very happy to be on a photo. It was a special moments.
Another special moment that I have seen the #Rickshawmama help a short kid on the richshaw while the mom got the bags. It was so cute. I mostly appreciated the times when I could tell they were making sure I am comfortable. It’s a hard life to be at the bottom of the foodchain, but they are there, doing their job. There is a lesson in that.
I feel like a celebrity in Bangladesh, people look at me from all sides and a few times the bus driver stopped the bus in the street to have all the passengers see me. Embarrassing to say the least. A nice thing though is that I get treated very well. Here and there you need to be persistent that you don’t need something or that you don’t want more food, but the people are kind.
Bargaining has never been part of my strengths, but I know having lived in Dhaka, travelling with local transport and buying things off the street. You learn to bargain, maybe I still suck at it. At least I don’t take the first price anymore. At least.
Many women on the streets are colorfully dressed, some have nose rings, red lips and sometimes red teeth. The burst of color in the mornings as people go to work is something to behold. Seeing the beauty in things that are so different from your world. I like being challenged in this way. Finding things that are so different – but the same.
The lady in this picture was of help when we got lost one day, I see something amazing in her eyes. I don’t know what it is.
I still see men with folded Longi’s using their farming implements in the rice fields, strong slender men working in the sun with the sweat glistening like oil on their bodies. Strong rickshaws pulling loads much much bigger than them, uphill.
Men and women with piles of bricks on their head. Upside down ducks in the ponds looking for food. I can still smell the smoke of a clay fire as the women are prepare a lunch. Simple but great meals, rice and dal. I just love it. The village is a interesting place.
Dogs are sleeping in the streets in the day, I mean ON the streets. At night you can see them running around. They seem not to notice the commotion around them. Some of them are curled op between two roads, sleeping. I realized that this is the only place were they cannot be disturbed. Some of them were sleeping within a meter a bustling street, people walking around them. Hundreds of people walk around them, no thousands, and they just slept. #DhakaDogs.
I like to think that I have done many things in my life and I see myself as very independent and able to take control of things. Here in Bangladesh I needed to consult people all the time, if I want to travel far or I wanted to buy some things, as it seemed that everyone knew everything and I was trying to figure out where to buy gum.
I learned again the benefits of living in community, having people around you supporting you and cooking for you. I was humbled by how willing the people are to help. How quickly people step in to help.
I thought I was a nice person till the one Bangla man told me: “It’s my absolute pleasure to help others”. I don’t know what to think about that. I like helping people too but it’s not my absolute pleasure. There is a lesson in that.