Two weeks in – only? Already?

Of course things are messy, and complicated, and I’ve already had my moments of overwhelming gloom and looming impossibility and not knowing what to do. But if there’s one thing I do know how to do, it’s cling leech-like and not let go. Which I suppose isn’t always a good thing, but in this case it will be, by golly. As my friend Steven once told me, tolerate confusion. I keep telling myself that when I have my moments of uncertainty about where I’m stepping next. It is okay, it is okay.

But things are moving, too, and I have these times where I just want to shout “YES!” and high five someone. A few days ago I had a wonderful meeting with members of the Mahila Parishad, and as I was explaining the idea to them, there was this incredible moment where I felt like they knew exactly what I was talking about, because, of course, they do know. They work with people suffering, that is what they do. One of their members remarked that they often get calls from young women who are suicidal or in severe emotional distress, and would it be okay if they pass along my phone number in those instances. A one-woman helpline, uh oh! But of course I said yes. Why else am I here. We made tentative plans for me to meet with them again after Eid, and I’m realizing that along with the structured, larger-scale training that I will eventually do with helpline volunteers, I also need a mini-version, because there’s enthusiasm out there for learning these skills. It would be incredible even just to pass on some of the knowledge in that way. Go around, talk to people. Besides everything else, it is exactly what I love to do.

So all of a sudden, I have SO much to do. Putting together these presentations. Working on creation of training materials. Meetings and meetings and more meetings. I’m also in the process of hiring full time staff to work with me. (If you happen to be interested when reading this, feel free to contact me via this blog and I can give you more info.) I’m such a weird mix of total confidence and feeling like I have NO idea what I’m doing.

And just…living here. I have decided that I’m no longer going to go places in the car, “Gari system cancel”. Traffic is ridiculous and it takes too long and makes me nauseous. So now I’m becoming a Dhaka city walker. Which is easier to say than do, because Dhaka city has a ridiculous amount of people and there’s not a lot of space on the streets. I’m still trying to convince the rents that a motorcycle is the way to go.

But it’s nice. Early morning concert at Dhaka University’s Charukola. Hours of lying around with the cousins. Shopping with my mom (when ordering glasses, the shopkeeper asked about my bideshi friends. It’s been three years since they were here, and he still remembers. How does he do it? Best businessmen ever.) Food’s delish, and everyone’s taking care of me. Which, after Boston, sometimes feels smothering but mostly, it’s nice.

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