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
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
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
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
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