This is a story about a unique experience in an almost parallel universe. It is a story about going beyond the surface and seeking places and meeting people who stay with us forever. It is a story of my journey in Bangladesh at the age of 21 and the day my ‘real life’ began…
My experience occurred as a result of my final year thesis for undergrad at the University of Sydney, Australia. I travelled to Bangladesh twice in 2012 to investigate the impact of climate change on rural livelihoods in the south. The study was supported by the Center For Sustainable Development (ULAB) in Dhaka, an organization which accommodated, planned and shared the ‘true’ essence of Bangladesh with me during both stays. It is because of this team and the network around them that this journey was possible.
My study site was in two villages of Panpatty Union in the Patuakhali District, South Bangladesh. It is 22 hours by boat from Dhaka and its disconnectedness from the outside world cannot be measured in mere hours. Like the majority in Bangladesh, the villagers of Panpatty experience a multitude of problems from underdevelopment. At the very core of these problems is the even greater impact of riverbank erosion, cyclones, floods, drought, salinity intrusion and the inevitable rise in sea level. People are loosing their land, livelihoods and homes in conjunction with the inaction to solve a global problem affecting us all. Time and time again, decisions are made, each of which neglect to see the reality of ground truths and those who are most affected. The vulnerable.
These people have so little, but give so much. Their willingness and contribution to my study was profound and I am indebted to each person in Panpatty who shared their stories and showed their determination. The same again, goes to each and every person who I met throughout this journey in a country I least expected to feel so closely attached. Not a day will go by where I won’t think of you all. Not a day will go by where I won't think of Bangladesh and that pocket of time we spent with each other.
Camera: Nikon D90 (Lens: AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm 1:2.8G)
Music: Jónsi- 1. Go Do. 2. We Bought a Zoo.