The theme of this semester seems to be BUSY. But here I am on a sunday afternoon, somehow finding myself with a bit of time to just be home. I savor this time to take a step back and let everything I am doing sink in.
The BRAC project is in its final phases and a shortened version (5 stories) will be launched next friday. Hearing these women's stories was an incredibly overwhelming experience. While In Bangladesh, 1e were inexperienced and (quite honestly) unqualified and often found ourselves negotiating the effects of heat, exhaustion, dehydration, digestive problems, large crowds, tons of noise and lack of linguistic communication. On top of these factors we were also hearing unbelievable stories of pain, abuse, murder, rape, acid-throwing, and poverty. Every woman we talked to revealed their profound courage, resilience, and dignity. I remember driving away from recording Mussamat's story feeling inadequate and useless. She treated me as if I were special and important, knowing nothing of who I am. Who was I to be honored with her testimony? Me? A random white girl from the suburbs of California? What could I offer her? Our meeting touched me so deeply, but I felt its weight as well. I felt the strongest need to share her story.
So as we prepare to launch this site, I can't help but feel a huge sense of relief. Patricia, Ruhul and I will not be the only ones who have heard the stories of these women. They will be shared and become part of many peoples' imaginations of Bangladesh. The message I want every viewer to walk away from the site with is that of the unstoppable agency and power of women, shaping their communities and society for generations to come. That the women I met were powerful, strong, complex and most importantly in my view, hopeful.
Here they are:
Rozina aka Tower of Power