Well first, Trekking in Nepal was like a dream, only it was not long enough. The morning after our 35+ hour journey across the world, we packed our small backpacks and headed towards the mountains. Cool sunny days and cold nights made for perfect trekking weather. We found ourselves hiking through little villages, over mountains, and stopping at local house lodges to rest and eat. At night we sipped tea, played cards and caught each other up on life. My favorite day began by waking up at sunrise and peeking out our little window to find 22 Himalayan snowcapped mountains surrounding us. After some vigorous hiking we stopped for lunch at the top of a mountain peak with a cool breeze and everywhere you looked the layering of mountains was inescapable. It was a beautiful to see the gift of land these people have been given and their connection and appreciation of it.
Now here in Dhaka, a short plane ride away yet culturally worlds apart… we are going to language school. We attend language school for two hours a day in the morning. It is exciting as progress is slowly being made, but also overwhelming because the Bengali language and pronunciations are so different and difficult. At times all you can do is just laugh. Following school, Sara and I usually make a regular stop at the lively market of live chickens, fruits, vegetables and Bengali treats. In the evenings we cook dinner, study, and every now and then go out to dinner or make a stop in the slums to practice our Bengali. Just shy of 2 weeks here in Dhaka, I have already begun to settle into a routine of life and slowly learning the correct language to get around town.
I have been battling with my responsibility to keep my family and friends updated while at the same time struggling and wanting to avoid an explanation of what I am seeing, feeling, and experiencing. It is a daunting and hard task, especially with my lack of understanding and the youthful nature of my journey.
The other night, bouncing down the streets of Dhaka in a rickshaw my feelings of hesitation were pinpointed as I verbally processed my thoughts aloud to Melissa and Sara.
“I feel that explaining my experience in the slum and elsewhere could potentially act as a further exploitation of the poor.” This might sound a bit strange, but it has literally kept my fingers from moving on the keypad. I don’t feel qualified or eligible to paint pictures of the poor and their conditions as it might bring incorrect attention to myself and/or a diagnosis that also is not qualified. For the rich (me) to write about the poor seems to often build up the status of the rich with their “valued experience,” while the poor remain. Possibly as that gap closes, and I slowly learn to join in solidarity may I speak more freely. I will tell you that within the snapshots I’ve collected around me, they have all been beautiful and filled with hospitality and an overwhelming generosity.
Overall we’ve had to make some adjustments living in a Muslim nation and are learning as we go along. This last weekend we took a small boat around the river, visited a beautiful old mosque, and surprised all the men (not many women eat out, especially during the day) by the 3 of us females eating out at a small local restaurant. We stop often at little cha (tea) shops multiple times a day as well sit and take in our surroundings.
I will do my best to keep blogging, but if I don’t for awhile then you have an understanding of why. Already my imagination of life and how it can be lived has grown with excitement and gratitude towards love and freedom. Thanks for following and hopefully I will be back to report sooner than later. Thanks for being in my life. Emails are appreciated !