Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Sad, Funny and True

I may have started a picture factory. It started on Valentines Day. A little girl on my block gave me a picture and told me I was her valentine. I was so touched that I ran home and gave her my (automatic glow in the dark) yo-yo. The next day another girl gave me a picture. I gave her a tube of lip gloss. Today a little boy gave me a picture. I want to think that they are giving me pictures because I enchant them. I know it’s because I give them toys. But you know what? That’s ok with me. It’ll be the cheapest commission I’ll ever pay for some artwork. I plan to make a wall collage.

I’ve been going to Dhaka a lot these past few weeks. Dhaka’s great. Delicious restaurants, shopping, NORTH END COFFEE… But it’s also where all the crazies and limbless live. You’ll be sitting in an auto minding your own business when WAM some kid puts his arm stump against the cage right next to your cheek. Within seconds your car is surrounded by little kids, limping slightly, sticking their little hands through the bars.

It’s sad, of course it’s sad. But if you laugh, the kids start cracking up at their own act. The kid may start to wave his stump around in a little dance, the once limping girl may jump around mocking herself. I usually stuff fruits and leftovers into my purse to give out.

Then there’s the really sad. Young boys with heads too heavy for their shrunken limbs to support. Women with mutilated eyes, hands blindly out for money. Usually I pass on without looking at them. I say a little prayer to myself “I’ll work for you, I’ll spend my life trying to help you, but you may die before I can do it, and I have to move on from that.” And then I’ll go into a coffee shop so I can focus and do just that. And maybe get a cinnamon bun. Because they’re delicious.

I participated in my first conference! The Bangladesh Pediatric Association. I wore a fancy Salwar Kameez, and presented in front of over 100 important people. They cheered when my base station device went off when I submerged the turtle bracelet in a water bottle. I had more questions asked than any other speaker. On the program (and on my participation award) I was referred to as “Dr. Chelsea Solmo.” Lovin’ it.

Rebecca came with me to Dhaka last weekend and we decided to do the city up right. We went to a spa for massages, the American Club for salads, and we went to the Westin for drinks. I got a martini and she got a mojito and we sat in the lounge with old Bangladeshi men and a few white businessmen. The entertainment was two Thai girls in tiny miniskirts singing Lady Gaga. They were awful and consequently fabulous. We leaned into each other and giggled incessantly.

My hands are permanently stained with yellow dhaal.

Asalam Walaikum,

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