Saturday, June 12, 2010


From Bangladesh

It is hard to know how to describe this experience in words. This city is the definition of sensory overload, and my eyes are constantly moving. A photographer's paradise. The first five days of being in Dhaka I was immediately thrust into interning at BRAC, quickly learning the ropes. We are working closely with three different departments and bouncing between floors in the 21 floor BRAC center. There are about ten interns total working this summer, all working in different departments and we do most of our work on the 21st floor. There is a balcony outside with an unbelievable view of Dhaka. Several times a day I stand out on the balcony and (with sweat dripping all over my body) watch the city below. There is a lake across the street and canoes shuttle people back and forth all day long between my side of the lake and the massive shantytown that is partially suspended on stilts.

From Bangladesh

Also below is a rickshaw rental center, with hundreds of bicycle rickshaws waiting for their wallahs to pick them up. Taking them, you can travel in the surrounding areas for about 40 cents. Lunch is 30 cents and I am growing accustomed to eating with my hands. Tomorrow I leave for Bogra and Rangpur and will be gone for a week, it will be so interesting to see life outside this massive city.

From Bangladesh

I am living in a BRAC Training and Resource Center (TARC) which is also home to a group of 25 Afghanis who are living here for five months doing a full time training session on Educational Management. As soon as I arrived, a group of ten people came knocking at my door, asking me who I am, where I am from, what I am doing and if I wanted to eat dinner with them. The dinners are made by the TARC staff and there is separate sections for afghanis (non spicy) and everyone else(spicy). At dinner I spoke for a long time with a 35 year old woman named Shafiqa who described to me her ambitions to open a pre-primary school in Kabul someday. She began speaking about war, how her life has always had to adapt to it, how much she hated wearing a burqa, how she wants to see the whole world. She described how everyone she knows has lost someone. She told me about losing her two brothers. We held hands tightly, and locked eyes for a long time and (although it is impossible to describe here), I felt changed. I told her about my brothers, how precious they are to me and how I could not imagine losing them. We held each other in a long embrace as if we were both comforting each other for the tragedies of this world. She is a changemaker, a warrior and a kind, beautiful woman. It is in these moments when I am overwhelmed with how much we normally separate ourselves in this world. A man drinking his morning coffee in the U.S. can click a button on a computer and send a drone to pakistan, with literally no understanding of those it will affect. But it is also in these moments of connection, when I fall in love with humanity all over again.

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