At the beginning of my stay in Bangladesh, a Bangladeshi who had lived a long time in the US told me “You cry twice in Bangladesh; once when you arrive and once when you leave.” Still reeling from the shock of experiencing a different culture, I was definitely able to believe the first part of that statement, yet I could never imagine shedding a single tear over leaving this country.

However, all this has changed. Upon arriving back in the States you might ask me, “How was Bangladesh?”, “why did you like it so much?” and perhaps best of all, “isn’t the country depressing?”. I will have to come up with answers to these questions, ones that hopefully are satisfactory to both of us.

Why do I like it so much? How can I enjoy work when everyday on my way to work I see people in various stages of dying? Frankly, I have no idea. The best answer I can come up with is that I am absolutely enamoured with life, raw and violent here. Whenever I think of Bangladesh, and especially Dhaka, I think of a heart violently having a heart attack. Its survival is unsure yet the ferocity with which it struggles to survive is at once inspiring and horrible to behold. In no other country I know of does the future look  so bleak yet hope is in more supply than anywhere else. If hope is the sustaining value of mankind, no other nation can boast to have so much humanity.

I’m sorry if I appear to be romanticising a serious situation but I cannot help feeling this way. I honestly have no idea where I’m going with this post except maybe to give you a view into my very confused self over these last few days. Is four months long enough to fall in love with a country, with a people, a culture? Is it enough to feel as if the people you’re surrounded by every day will be with you for the rest of your life?

Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to coming home. I look forward to seeing my family, my friends again and to even go back to school. I just know that at least at the beginning, the possibility to get out of the US again will be a driving motivation behind my studies.

I have nothing to report that is new, except that I have concluded my internship as of today and will hand in my report to GTZ soon. Seeing that I have basically prepared an overview of the US-Bangladesh trade relationship, I hope that my report can be of some help to new interns, for example, who work with this project and who are, like I was, completely clueless about this country. The internship experience has been a positive one, next time perhaps I’ll be more pro-active, as I definitely had more capacities during the course of the internship. However, this relaxing situation allowed me to be very flexible and I thoroughly enjoyed accompanying other staff members on their assignments, seeing much more and meeting more people than I ever would have by myself.

As I said before, I can’t wait to get out there again!


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Toni said,

    Hey Lorenz,

    I wish you all the best back in the US. It is very a pity that we could not do more together here.
    I hope we manage somehow to keep in touch and meet some day in Teheran…

    Lass es Dir gut gehen!


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