I am humbled, I am introspective, I am reflective of all my experiences here in Bangladesh. Ranging from rickshaws and traffic to local food and eating with your hands to police stopping and questioning me on half of my days here to welcoming families and peaceful village experiences. I am grateful.
In all honesty, I was completely overwhelmed when I first got here. There are so many people and in my eyes, there seemed to be so much suffering. I feel this pain in my chest and my heart opens to a new culture of people who have been given less of a variety of resources and a smaller amount of their things. I can only speak for myself and my experiences, so please do not take my words as your truth if you do not want to. I am simply expressing my time here.
If it wasn’t for a welcoming local man, Jafar and his family, I would not have survived here, even for a short time.
They brought me into their home and accepted me with excitement. They treated me with a genuine caring for my well-being. This supportive and helpful energy completely balanced a lot of the unwelcoming energy I was getting from others.
On my first moment out of their home, I was stopped by police shortly after ‘For My Safety’. They demanded to know everything about me, why I an here, who do I know, where I am staying, needing to see my passport and visa and demanding for me to make a copy of my documents immediately to bring back to them. I had already gone through this whole process with other police officers right before when I arrived in the airport.
Luckily, a local friend I made on the plane, Subree, was there for the first and second encounter to guide and help me through it. The officers didn’t speak any english to me, so I have no idea what I would have done without him.
Unfortunately the same thing happened again the very next day as soon as Jafar and I was leaving his home. We didn’t even get out of the building when another group of police officers met us at the bottom of our stairs because they were coming to find me as if I did something wrong.
They again demanded answers to the same questions and demanded another copy of my passport and information. We had to get in their police car and go with them to make copies of my documents again.
Is this one system or individual systems?
Shouldn’t the government and police already have a few copies of my documents and information somewhere?
The police claim they are doing it for my safety because a tourist was killed not too long ago here. So why are they questioning and interrogating me then?
How can this type of treatment be for my benefit when they are continually interrupting, disturbing and causing me to be late for my plans each day instead of looking for and questioning actual possible suspects of the previous crime? Well, whatever their intension really were, they were definitely successful at making me feel very unwelcome. This kind of treatment will make anyone not want to come back. May be that was their goal……
Finally Jafar and I got to begin our journey to his hometown village a couple hours out of Dhaka city. This is where everything turned around for me. Riding the local bus and seeing other towns and areas began opening my heart up again that had been starting to close down from the police encounters and many unfriendly people towards me in the city.
I noticed people in the smaller towns actually seeing me for who I am and not just the color of my skin. Instead of judge mental glares, I received intrigued stars that was offer attached with a smile. Ah. They see me as a human being, too.
When we got to his sister’s home in his childhood village, I was greeted with even more love warmth from this beautiful family. I was being treated more as a gift than as a disgrace and my heart is forever grateful to those who gave me that. The beautiful trees, lakes and open green rice fields were so refreshing. Encountering many friendly cows, ducks, lambs, eagles and even a wolf. Now this is peaceful. And I could definitely get used to a life living this way. This wonderful people take great joy from the simplest pleasure in life.
Coming from such extremely different backgrounds, experiences, culture, religion and language these special Bangladeshi people found a way to relate and connect with me, as I did with them. The ones that chose to see me for the soul that I am and not the body I am in, thank you.
We are all a product of our environment and our experiences but it is always up to us if we wish to expand our horizons, expand our views, expand our identity, in order to bring in new truths and new forms of abundance. The world is our neighborhood and I am happy to be your neighbor.