I’m finally home from Bangladesh! It’s been a nutty 10 days filled with strange escapades from being almost arrested to unwittingly being featured in various Bangladeshi publications, and I’m covered in mosquito bites, bruises, aches and pains everywhere, so I’m more than glad to be home!
Whenever we visit a Bangladeshi village, the entire community will turn up. It can be rather unnerving to be surrounded by people who just stand there to stare, but it’s something we’ve had to get used to.
Inevitably, I will get surrounded by the children. It is often because I am the decoy who needs to distract everyone from the actual work, and I have realised that the quickest way to distract everyone is to engage the kids. Also, it’s easy because kids seem to like me – a friend once pointed that it’s probably because they like “people their own size”.
I love photographing the children, and they love being photographed. It’s the best thing to see them grin and giggle and tease each other as they crowd around to look at themselves on the screen of my DSLR.
Many of these children are from poor families. Some of them are even child labourers who have either stopped school or work after school for pittance. They have no choice – for them, it is work or starve. I especially worry about the girls, because women in Bangladesh aren’t exactly treated well. There are problems of eve-teasing and dowry/domestic violence, cruelties that we girls of more developed societies cannot even imagine. It is a harsh reality that many of these children will grow up to have tough lives, and there is nothing I can do to get them out of the cycle of poverty that has so many Bangladeshis trapped.
But right now, the kids are still just kids. Despite the hardship they still laugh and play, friendly and affectionate without any of that self-consciousness that plagues us once we’ve grown up. They welcomed me into their group without any hesitation, eager to show me everything all at once. One group of children half-led, half-dragged me on a multi-stop tour of their village, pulling me into various houses where I would sit for about 10 seconds smiling at everyone before I would be forcibly moved on to the next house. They filled my pockets with fruit, little green bulbs that turned out to be the bitterest thing I had ever tasted (and I had to diplomatically get rid of while no one was looking).
Here are some of my favourite photos of the children I have met on this trip:
You can see more of my Bangladesh photos here.
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