Sunday, March 13, 2011

Picture Perfect

I returned to the future site of the Sir John Wilson School on Friday. Members of the school community and other supporters gathered to learn about the plans and bless the site. The program took place under a colorful canopy similar to the ones used in village wedding ceremonies. The bamboo poles used to support the structure were wrapped in green, red, blue, white and yellow fabric. Tassels dangled lazily from the geometric floral designs sewn on the colorful ceiling, and triangular cloth panels hung from the edges of the tent. The humidity level hovered around 80%. The air didn’t stir. There was no escaping the heat as we tried - discretely - to dab the sweat from our faces.

I realize that by Bangladeshi standards the heat we’ve experienced so far is nothing compared to what it will by in a few weeks. But what’s interesting and different about the temperature here is that, at times, I feel as though it’s coming from the inside out. The heat here settles into the buildings and shadows, and though you’re not in direct sunlight, your body feels as though it might as well be. The people who live here are used to it and as such their reactions to the heat range from non-existent to very mild. Due to this, there have been a few occasions where I’ve felt compelled to ask, “is anyone else hot, or is it just me?” There was no need to ask this question on Friday, because looking around I could see that everyone else was melting too.

Prior to the ceremony, I went back to the village where I’d taken pictures with the photo club on Wednesday. Armed with their photos and a translator (a member of the school staff), I entered the family compound. The kids recognized me and helped to gather the rest of the family. They were surprised and pleased to see me, and absolutely thrilled by the pictures. (Though you wouldn’t know if from the group photo - it seems Bangladeshis take "formal" group shots very seriously). The little boy who’d cried when I took his photo on Wednesday, couldn’t wipe the smile off his face when I handed him his picture. Unfortunately I couldn’t make everyone happy. Those who hadn’t been there on Wednesday seemed very disappointed when they did not receive a picture. Nonetheless, I was invited for tea and breakfast. In the interest of my digestive health and because the program was about to start - I skillfully declined with help from the Bangla speaking staff member.

Walking back to the site, I snapped a few more pictures. We were informed of the large market/bazaar that takes place every Thursday, so I’ll be back in the weeks to come. 

In other news, I’ve met a cockroach larger than any I’d ever seen before. He was roughly the length of my palm and he had wings. I’m very thankful that his attempts to take flight while in my presence were unsuccessful. Stifling a yelp, I asked for assistance in removing him from the room we were in. During the removal process, I was calmly informed that they don’t bite.

Though I doubted that I’d ever be able to do it, I am also happy to report that I’ve officially slept through three morning calls to prayer.

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