Dark men without legs and arms, dirty women carrying naked babies, hungry children crying all around, and paralyzed young men and women sliding themselves across the rocky pavement. The polluted air that was silently buzzing around the city, danced along with the sewer smell coming from every street corner. I was not in America anymore, and for the first time, I was facing the realities of a third world country. My vacation in Bangladesh opened my eyes to a whole new level of poverty and hardships.
Brown butt cheeks that should be covered, jiggle in the crowded streets of Chittagong by naked children without parents or homes. A high beam of innocence reflects off their big brown eyes, as they run and jump around in their naked flesh, laughing carelessly with their friends. The emaciated bodies of men and women, young and old, desperately try to swim in the cold city, trying to make ends meet and not drown. The wave of sadness pours of out their eyes, as they bang on car windows, begging for money. I sit in the car, stuck in traffic, and gape through the window watching Bangladeshi policemen beat meager men and women on the populated streets, in front of everyone. But I did not know any of these people, they were just people all on the outside, and I was just looking in. No doubt that it is sad to watch these poor individuals struggle to live in a society where money is power, but nothing is deeper when you know someone in that situation.
Muktee Uncle (not my real uncle in any related way) has been my mother’s family servant since she was a kid. Like a spider, he crawls on the floor of our five story apartment building, cleaning every step from the first level to the fifth. When I met his family, and all of his daughters, I felt an overwhelming emotional wave go through me. His six beautiful daughters walked into our apartment, smiling with an everlasting radiance. The youngest daughter is not his birth daughter, she was found as a baby abandoned near a trash bin because she is mentally retarded. As I talked to his children in my heavy American accent, I realized that these girls were happy, for now that is. Their innocence vibrated out of their mouths as they conversed with me about their school, friends, and questions they asked.
But nothing hit me harder than when I walked into their home. Next to the sewer, I walked through a tight alley to find a little door way to right. This little hut I entered, which was smaller than my own room, is a home to a family of eight. Overcrowded, the family slept on the tiny floor, and used the bathroom outside.
On my trip to Bangladesh, I witnessed the struggles and pain of poverty stricken individuals striving to make ends meet. The streets of Bangladesh are the home to millions of homeless Bengalis. The reality of poverty in a third world country is something you cannot capture through pictures or a book, you have to go there to get the real meaning and experience of it all. There is no other feeling to actually see what a third world country like Bangladesh is like, without being there in person.
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