I am now back in New York city.
My time in Bangladesh is over.
The last day of our internship (the day before we left) I got really sick- fever, digestive problems (if you know what I mean), headache, intense stomach pain. I know it was my body responding to being completely exhausted. The last week in Dhaka we worked on average 12 hour days and near the end we were pulling close-to-all-nighters almost every night.
The last night before our presentations, I desperately needed some fresh air so I went outside for a walk. Across the street from the TARC is a construction site, day after day I have seen three women sitting on a pile of broken bricks, pounding bricks with hammers. Six days a week they have been in the same spot. Smashing. Smashing Smashing. The broken pieces are used in the construction of rooftops. In some areas I have seen machines that easily chop the bricks, but all over the country I have seen individuals intensely pounding their hammers doing the same job. It is a job that pays less than a dollar a day.
I had been wanting to talk to the women for awhile so I approached them with a smile and they kindly let me sit with them, photograph them and play with one of the woman’s daughter. Every day I saw this woman’s daughter, who is perhaps five or six, spend her entire day waiting and pacing around the 20 foot work space. I saw how her mother glanced up every few minutes to make sure she is near. The eyes of all three women had so much in them, I wanted so badly to hear their stories. The next two days, every time I passed them I received enthusiastic waves and smiles.
What I miss the most about Dhaka are the small moments on the streets- the waves, the smiles, glances, seeing everything that surrounds me. Dhaka really began to feel like home. I will miss everything about the streets, the way I feel, in awe, trying to learn as much as possible. Some time in our first weeks in Dhaka, on the rickshaw ride to the BRAC center, I noticed a site where a group of men were tearing down a two story building with only hammers. Over the course of nine weeks I saw the building slowly deteriorate, with a patience that is foreign to the supersonic speed of our modern world. Finally, the day before I left, the entire building was finally destroyed.
In these nine weeks I have felt, for the first time in my life, that I have been a part of something that matters. My collaboration with Patricia makes me imagine a whole new way that I can create change in this world. There is no way to say how much I miss my dear friend and partner in this project, Ruhul. I could not imagine my time in Bangladesh without him. I cannot put into words what this journey has meant to me, I hope my images can do a better job than I can. Bangladesh will always be a part me.