Caitlin Burnett

Caitlin Burnett (Blind Education and Rehabilitation Development Organization – BERDO): Caitlin is a native of Williamsburg, Massachusetts. She received her BA in psychology and politics from Ithaca university in 2005. At the time of her fellowship, Caitlin was studying for a Master’s degree in ethics, peace and global affairs at the School of International Service at American University.

I am now officially in Bangladesh!

04 Jun

One of more daunting legs of this experience, the travel to my destination, is over. Now my task is to adjust and get down to work. Somehow, I had envisioned it as a relatively easy transition that would somehow just sort of happen or click into place- but after landing and taking a short tour of Dhaka, I think I may be in for more than I bargained for.

The line to get on the connecting flight from Dubia to Dhaka was my first glimpse into the chaos that in some ways seems to mark life in Dhaka. Rather than follow the orders of the airport staff, it seemed as though all of humanity was determined to squeeze their way through that 4 foot wide gate towards the runway, no matter what the cost in unceremonious bumps to the elderly- and forget boarding parents with young children first.

After finding my way to my seat and fighting my bag into the overhead compartment (not a good sign at the beginning of the trip- I haven’t even started to go handicraft shopping yet!) I found myself seated next to a nervous flyer who spoke only a few words of English. While we couldn’t converse, the man and I shared a number of knowing grimaces and smiles as the plane hit choppy air, as all the babies on the plane burst into a simultaneous chorus of ear splitting proportions, and as meals were inevitably mixed up. When he murmured something that sounded “thank Allah” under his breath after we touched down on the Dhaka runway, I heartily seconded his statement even as a confirmed atheist.

On the last leg of the flight, I have to admit that I was more nervous than I can ever remember being in my life. The apprehension pooled like a lead ball in my stomach. I kept asking myself in between fits of momentary panic- can I really do the work required of me? Will I be able to be an effective communicator? Am I deluding myself in thinking that I have something to offer to this work?

I obviously don’t have any of the answers yet. However, following a brief, stomach-churning and somewhat hair-raising drive from the airport to the house of the family I will stay with, the leaden feeling in my stomach has dissipated ever so slightly- even against all odds.

Posted By Caitlin Burnett

Posted Jun 4th, 2007

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