Earlier this week. Hammad and I are sitting in my living room and working on the training manual when he suddenly looks up and tells me that he had forgotten to tell me about this earlier, but he does know someone who committed suicide. I ask who it was, and he starts describing this individual, and there’s no reason for either of us to know when he starts this story that I used to know this guy, too, and when Hammad says his name, I said, through the feeling that I had just been kicked in the gut, wait, he’s dead? It’s been a long time since I’ve spoken to this guy, almost ten years ago, at this point, but he and Rebecca and I were good friends before I left Bangladesh to go to Cornell. We’d fallen out of touch, as people do. But I had no idea, no idea at all that this wonderful, wonderful person had taken his own life last year, hung himself in his room. A few weeks ago I had actually been thinking about him, and wondering if he was still around and how it would be fun to get in touch again.
The first thing I thought was, why didn’t we help him? Which makes no sense. Last year I didn’t even know if KPR was going to happen. But still, someone messed up somewhere, time wasn’t supposed to work out that way, we should have done something. Whoever plans out our lives for us should have planned it differently so we could have done something. Not that I’m sure we could have done something even if KPR was completely up and running. It isn’t that. It’s more just the lack of logic in the fact that we are trying to help people who feel this way, and a friend of mine took his own life last year.
Logically, there’s no reason to feel like I have failed, and I know that. But.
I had to give Rebecca the news, and I’m going to always think about how shocked and confused she sounded when she said, “What?” But then she said, puts a whole new fire under what you’re doing. Yes, yes it does.
This week has been the most ridiculous week, leading up to what was supposed to be our first training session this weekend. Unfortunately I’m temporarily under the weather and we had to push it to next weekend. Which I am very bummed about, considering the fact that right when we were happily sitting around and planning training on Monday, we heard that Wednesday and Thursday were both BNP strikes. So theeeeeeeeen we had to figure THAT whole thing out, and spent ages and ages contacting all the trainees to see what they could do, and restructuring the training schedule to fit in only Friday and Saturday, instead of Thursday and Friday and Saturday. And we were all ready to go.
No matter. We will be even more ready next weekend. Stay tuned!
The peeps we are planning on training just make me smile, all the time, though. They are eager, and ready, and excited. Wonderfully, one of them responded to an email with, “We will be the change we want to see.” I think some of them were all ready to skip classes and come train, which on my face I try to frown and say, “They shouldn’t be skipping class, mmm, mmm” and on the inside I can’t stop grinning. And then there is the fact that even a few months ago, I was wondering if we’d ever have enough volunteers, and now we have so many that I could train for weeks and weeks and weeks and still not train them all, and more applications coming in every day.
Oh, and then there is the fact that I asked Pranto Bhai anxiously, “What if we set all this up and nobody calls?” and that very day Rozy told me that she has started getting calls on our office line (which is just for info purposes, right now) from people who want the helpline number. And this despite basically no publicity at all.
We are so, so close to starting. We are opening the lines as soon as we have the first group trained up. So close! Keep your fingers crossed for us, please!