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The welcome concert

Angel smile with a box of snack

As always, the children ran out of the classroom into the sizzling sun on seeing our mini-bus on the road behind the bordering rain trees. They ranged themselves on the ground to sing in chorus, “National Anthem”, “We shall overcome…” in Bengali and English.
I do not know how much I love this moment. The concert is very different from any music performance at music halls and clubs. You cannot buy the tickets if you are very rich. You have to go through the endlessly continued rain tree road until you see a little white building in the green surroundings of rice paddies under the tropical sun. There is no ticket, but you have to open your arms with a big smile to be the audience. On seeing you friendly approaching, the singing will start. The dance will start.

I heard happy news. The Narayanpur village school is reputed as a good school in the district. The parents want to send their children into the school. The school has extra teachers of mathematics and English in addition to the part time music teacher, so that a few children win the Government scholarship for advance education every year.
Twice a year there are concerts to which fathers come to see their daughters playing and singing as a lead role. Food are given, which is important from the view point of nutrition. They have two meals a day and always feel hungry.
From September, 2006, award system started. The best three pupils from class 1 to 5 are given some incentive money to buy stationeries. In addition, scholarship will be given to one university student in the district. I wish the money would be returned in some way to the village people, but the possibility is very slim. The person might live in Dhaka or in some big city after graduation absurbing in the city culture and amenity.

The village school has no electricity, while Dhaka’s power is also in crisis. While the people in Dhaka go on strikes for energy, the village people lead ever lasting peaceful life.

In the school ground fruit trees were planted in 2001, which have grown to be about 2 meters. They will be big enough to bear fruit and make shadow over the ground in some more years. The children will enjoy the harvest and sweet fruit, when they make shadows for them to read in it. Then I may not give them food, but instead, give them books. When? I am expecting the day to come when Bangladesh economy is growing.

The first experience of drawing

Is my dance capturing your heart?

The Sakura Mohila Shomity women look happy. The hell of debt is a story in the past. They can take advantage of borrowing money by the preference rate of 3% from the mutual-aid community they belong to. They buy chickens to raise, cows to sell or to milk for living. Most interestingly a woman borrowed money for her son to go to work to Saudi Arabia. The son earned enough and monthly sent back money to return debt for the plane tickets. They had learned the system and saved up little for deposit in the weekly meeting at the leader’s house where light was available after they finished the field work.

The sewing project is also going in a slow-but-steady pace. They were paid by 110 sari bags and given another orders of bags, purses and table mats. With the Islam biggest religious event, Ramadan starting from September 24, the village women’s consideration was all about the preparation for the occasion. But they decided to complete the order to send out to Japan in a month. The work produces money for them to live on.

The first ten women finished the project and another ten women replaced with them in the workshop. They are young just after graduation from the secondary school. The training could give them chances to gain means to earn.

The shomity leader,
listening to the instruction

A mountain of the cloth
for the women to make

The lucky fact is that the women have a good leader. The leader woman has quality of leading the shomity women who are in fact elder than she is. Above the facts that she has husband, a house and property, she has the capacity of leading.

The leader woman came to me to ask the raise of her salary since she is busy in taking care of the micro credit project and the sewing project. I told her, “You can manage to produce your salary from the interest.” She answered, “They want to borrow money for them to use, but they do not want to pay for my salary.” Alas! This is the reality of the village life.


Soon the original goods such as tea cozies, lunch mats table runners, totes and purses will arrive from Kumudini Welfare Trust, Bangladesh. “Sakura” cherry blossoms are designed and hand embroidered. The busiest time of preparing the Ramadan events takes time to finish, and then to transport, by the specially slow and inefficient way, gathering stories from one place and another.

For private orders, “TOPS” tailors & fabrics are making silk jackets, blouses, skirts and pants. The owner, Monirul, the manager Faruk and the master tailor are reliable people to ask orders from Japan. The work of making lady’s dresses is new to them but they will soon get accustomed to making the lady’s dresses in shorter time. Ramadan is the busiest time for Bangladeshi tailors, as people send gifts of clothes as well as they buy new one for themselves. They have to cope with the worsening condition of power supply, when they are the busiest.

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