Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What I Will and Won't Miss About Bangladesh

Things I am not going to miss about Bangladesh:

1. The morning dance to keep the mosquitoes from settling on my body. Making sure mosquitoes aren’t trapped in my pants when I pull them up after using the bathroom.
2. The dust that cakes in your eyes and hair and coats your throat just from walking down the street
3. The gaggle of geese that wait for me on my way to work, lower their heads, and charge
4. Dhaal and rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner
5. The noise from the beeping, street vendors, cows, that follows you from the cities to the villages
6. The constant near death collisions from speeding buses heading straight for your face
7. The orna (scarf), that you must wear for modesty, but that traps sweat and is constantly falling off and gets tangled up in rickshaw wheels choking you
8. The pollution and smoke from fires so fierce that your feet are always black and you’re never fully clean
9. The Azaan prayers that wake up all the dogs…and me… with their 4am prayers
10. Being completely covered, head to toe, even in the most brutal summer heat
11. Extremely slow internet
12. The inability to go running outside as a woman for fear of scandal
13. After work, you can go to the market to buy some vegetables, go for a walk along the dusty road, and that’s about it for fun times
14. Not having access to any alcohol
15. Spiders the size of a fist
16. Always looking down to make sure you don’t step in a steaming, fresh pile of cow poop
17. Extreme attention and credence given to hierarchy in the work place and at home
18. Power outages
19. The disease that’s right in front of you, reaching out a hand and asking for money
20. Being so far away from all my family and friends

Things I am going to miss about Bangladesh:

1. Being on a motorcycle deep in the village, with the low sun behind me and rice patties everywhere ahead
2. The deep spicy flavors of every single thing you eat
3. The tiny goats that always getting in the way of cars and that are at once so cute and so tasty
4. Looking out the window of my office and looking straight into the eyes of a bird sitting in the trees just beyond my reach
5. Coming home from the office and being ushered into a house by your neighbors and made to eat sweets and fruits as they sit and look at you and ask questions
6. Leaving my room a complete mess and coming home to find everything neatly in order from Maksuda, our cleaner
7. Having a cook ask you every night, “what do you want for breakfast in the morning?”
8. The sound a rickshaw makes when you are riding one. The creaking of the wood with every bump and turn
9. Sleeping under a mosquito net and being so surrounded by mosquitoes you can hear their collective opera, but feeling safe they can’t touch you
10. Walking around with no shoes on
11. The vibrant colors of all of the clothes
12. Fruits in season. The divine properties of ripe mangoes.
13. The dark orange sun, bigger and brighter than I have seen anywhere else in the world
14. The smell of morning breakfast fires and dusk cha stands
15. The surprise of a cow sticking its head in a window and mooing loudly during a meeting
16. The unbelievable, almost forceful, generosity of all of the people. Especially the women.
17. The children that wait for me on my block and give me the pictures they made in school
18. The children in my study in the villages who now know my name and run after my motorcycle when I leave
19. The camaraderie of my housemates, beautiful girls who make it so much easier to be away from everything and everyone I know and love
20. JiVitA, and how I can go home every day feeling satisfied and excited by my work

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