Occasionally metaphors of Bangladesh become glaringly apparent, and one that often comes to mind is a picture of a little stone in a bag of rice. I am that little stone, out of place, in this sea of rice. Everywhere I turn I see rice, not other stones, I see wonderful people all around. I realize increasingly each day that I am not the rice, and I never will be the rice, but I enjoy being with the rice. Sometimes though, the rice all around is suffocating, I long for the open field, I look for a place for myself, and I find that place in prayer.
Here in Bangladesh, people are everywhere, and everyone wants to be my friend. Privacy is in many regards a foreign concept, and everyone knows who you were with and what you were doing. I know this is not my space, it is their space, and I am but a guest in this space; it is a shared space. Together all Bangladeshis and Bideshis, together, share the little physical space available in this country, and though this is a challenge it is also a blessing. It is a lesson in sharing and a lesson in finding peace in the crowded space; and finding peace in the shared space.
Shantite. (Bengali for In Peace)