I wanted to wait a few more days before I posted a new blog so that I would be able to add a bit more content. This past week Shahed and I spent the vast majority of our time at the Subornogram International School as the student’s second semester examinations were taking place. Shahed needed to be at the school every day to oversee the administering of the test, and from 7 a.m. to late afternoon my time was spent in a supporting role, helping out Shahed, the teachers, and the students where need be, while building on the work plan that I have been developing on behalf of the Advocacy Project in my free time.
Just a quick note: The Subornogram International School is one of two “tuition” based schools (the other being the Subornogram Ideal School) of the Subornogram Foundation. The families of the students attending these schools are generally financially secure, and pay a fee for their child to attend; the revenue produced is the only income made by Subornogram, and is used to run the rest of the foundations programs. Another quick tidbit that I learned today, the Subornogram Foundation offers full scholarships to students who come from families that can’t afford the tuition, and those with disabilities.
I have to say, of the 19 years I spent in formal education, I don’t think I have ever been witness to a group of students more genuinely excited to take midterm exam, and definitely haven’t seen a group more disciplined. Even I felt I bit of nerves when I saw the bound exams being handed out to the students, and if it weren’t for the convenience of my scarf, I would have just blamed the beads of sweat forming on my brow on the heat. I was never a fan of tests.
While the majority of my time was spent working in a school office, Shahed and I did manage to make it out to Mayadip Island for the second time since I’ve been in Bangladesh. Although our trips to Mayadip have been brief thus far, it has quickly become my favorite places and I can see why Shahed plans on making the island his permanent home in the near future. My next blog post will be on Mayadip Island for those that might want an explanation as to why it’s such an amazing place.
Now, why did I wait a few extra days before posting a blog? Back in April when I discovered that I was selected for the Advocacy Projects Fellowship in Bangladesh, I laid out all of the extracurricular activities that I wanted to experience once in country; one of which was visiting the Tea Fields of Sylet, a division of Northeast Bangladesh. At some point during Sunday afternoon, Shahed got word that we would need to travel to Habiganj District in Bangladesh for business. Being that I’m not yet an expert on Bengali geography I just assumed that Habiganj was another district only a rickshaws ride away. I was mistaken. At about 9 p.m. Sunday night, Shahed told me to head back to my room and pack up for the 7 hour journey we were about to embark on to reach Habiganj. An hour and a stuffed backpack later, Shahed and I were out the door and on our way to Chittagong road to catch the first of two busses.
Still oblivious to exactly where in Bangladesh we were 7 hours and a highway tire blowout later, Shahed, his friend, and I finally reached our hotel in Habiganj. After the business at hand was taken care of in the morning I was asked if I would be game to visit the tea fields. Yes. Please.
At the risk of sounding cliché, words just wouldn’t capture the beauty that was the tea fields. Hopefully these pictures give you some perspective 🙂
Posted By Chris Pinderhughes
Posted Jul 17th, 2013