I actually started my first blog over eight years ago. I had stopped when I came to a realization: I’m boring. Writing about my life isn’t at all interesting. So, when it came to making a blog for this project – I tried my best to avoid blogging about personal issues. In hindsight, that was a bad idea. There are a lot of good stories that I haven’t talked about simply because they didn’t connect with any issues directly relating to the project.
For example, there was this time when I had to fight with Arab security at an airport in the Middle East. They had confiscated my Notre Dame branded Nalgene bottle because they said it was too big of a water bottle to take onto the plane (even though I had been permitted to bring it on board my connecting flight by airport security in North America). I refused to leave the security checkpoint without it. This was admittedly a very bad move – my passport was confiscated and I was surrounded by security forces. A female family member who had traveled along with me tried to plea with them. This only angered them because apparently, in that country, women are forbidden to talk to men who aren’t family. How we were able to leave in one piece – with my Notre Dame bottle returned to me no less – is quite the story.
Unfortunately, not every story has had a happy ending….
Two weeks prior to the riots and curfews that struck Bangladesh, the same family member who traveled along with me on this project fell ill with Dengue Fever. Dengue Fever is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes – there is no cure. In 2002 alone, there were over 6,000 reported cases of Dengue Fever in Bangladesh (which killed over 50 in that year alone) (source). The first time you get infected, you get off “easy”: with symptoms including killer back pain, eye-ball pain, fever, lack of appetite, and dehydration. It is survivable. But, the second time you get infected – it can be fatal. Excessive haemophiliac-like bleeding (including bleeding from the eyes) are what come with a second infection. Second infections can be fatal – which makes this family member’s presence in this country very dangerous.
I wish I had a least something significant to show for such time, sacrifice, and effort. I came to Bangladesh in the last week of June. This project also involved months of planning before flying to Bangladesh. It’s now the first week of September and I don’t have much – at least online – to show for this project. I expected things to be hard – but never on this scale. Flooding, riots, curfews, and hospitalized family members have all happened during this project.
And there isn’t much yet to show for all this.