Response to the attack on my father

Yeshim Iqbal

We are all, of course, shocked and extremely disturbed. Much like many of you who will be reading this, I have a profound sense of unease and sadness that my country is not safe. That the university campus I grew up on is the same place where my father got stabbed while trying to enjoy a robotics competition. A young friend asked me desperately, “WHY Yeshim Apu? Why would you stay in this country, when this is happening?”

It seems, then, that many people are despairing about the state of this country. Asking me if my family will leave, lamenting that we have failed my father.

However.

There’s something I’d like to say to all of you. In fact, I might as well just be lazy and steal a few words from my father, because I know exactly what he’s going to say as soon as he’s up and about again. You see, you are not allowed to give up hope. And you can never, ever stop fighting for all the things that are good and beautiful to you, for the country you so badly wish you were living in and just haven’t gotten quite to yet.

Nothing has ever come easily. Every single thing that you enjoy in your world today – a street to walk on as a free person, a meal to eat, a doctor when you are ill, the right to go to school, to vote, to work at a job that pays you enough money to live and maybe take a rickshaw ride and eat some fuchka that will probably mess up your stomach but is worth it because you’re eating it with someone that gives you the giggles – every single thing you enjoy now was fought for by someone who came before you. Nothing ever came for free, and nothing ever came easy. Somebody fought for it, little by little, piece by piece, day after day, year after year. By people like my parents, yes, but also by people like you and me. It is our right, and our responsibility, to deeply enjoy every tiny bit of what we have been given. And it is our responsibility to continue to fight for what we don’t yet have. Perhaps our children will get it.

When it gets difficult, when you want to scream and cry with the sheer outrage of it –  I know, I know, I am there myself – you do not plan on how you’re going to run away. You take a deep, deep breath. You look around, and you gather up the pieces of courage that you might have dropped by accident along the way. You lift your chin up as stubbornly as you possibly can, and you figure out where the next step forward goes.

I know very well that one of the reasons I am able to say this is that my father is alive and well, already talking about how to finish the five courses he’s supposed to be teaching this semester. I take a moment now to think of the families and friends of those who have lost their lives in this same fight. There are daughters out there whose fathers have not recovered. I’m thinking about you.

I’m staying in this country because I like it. To me, this place is not the ugliness of the incidents like this. These incidents and the people who cause them are a problem, one there we need to deal with very urgently. They are rather like warts, or maybe fungus. They’re gross, and they may have appeared because we haven’t yet done a good enough job of keeping clean. We need to remove them.

But they are not what this place is. To me, this country is the gorgeous volunteers I work with at Kaan Pete Roi. It’s a trip to Chhayanaut or Shilpakala any day of the week I’m looking for a song in my heart. It’s the incredible science and art and literature this tiny country has managed to make despite the battering it has taken in history. It’s the groups of university students I often have the privilege to chat with and learn from, and it’s my parents’ young colleagues sitting around our dinner table, planning how to make things better for their next wave of university students. It’s the insistence of friends to feed me kababs made of little fish, because apparently that’s what makes a healthy baby. It’s my mother and father, who – make no mistake – are not going anywhere.

I am so grateful, especially to those who were there in the moment and acted quickly, with no thought to their own safety, to get my father the care he needed. Thank you. To those protesting all over the country, thank you; the sound of you gives me strength. To those who made up the absolute ocean of love we have received in the past few days, thank you; you are exactly what I need.

Make no mistake. We are not going anywhere.

 

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To the man in his mid-thirties who was standing in front of the DHL office on Kemal Attaturk last Thursday at about 1 pm

(It’s a little bit of cheating for me to put this here, because it’s not very recent – I wrote it in a fit of anger quite some time ago, when I still lived in Dhaka. However, nothing has changed since then in this regard, and I never did anything with this piece, so I suppose it still makes sense for it go here.)

Hello there. You randomly caught my eye while I was stuck in traffic with my cousin. A young woman was walking on the pavement, and I don’t know why, but I looked at your face as she walked by. I guess I figured you’d want to take a look at her, seeing how typically when young women walk on pavements (or anywhere else) they get looked at by men like you (who are just regular men), and I guess I wondered if I would see you do it. Sure enough, as she walked towards you, your eyes flicked to her chest. As she walked by you, you turned to look at her lower back.
It was so clear that it was a jolt, even though it was exactly what I expected to see, having experienced exactly this every time I am on the street in Bangladesh. I pointed it out to my cousin, I said, that guy just looked at a girl’s chest and lower back, it was really clear, and really disgusting.

She leaned over and the two of us watched to see if you would do it again.

Oh, you did it again. In fact, you did it every single time a young woman walked by you.

Every single time.

(And I’m sure you know about that traffic on Kemal Attaturk, so we were there for a lot of minutes, and we watched you look at a lot of women. I mean, a lot of chests and lower backs. Faces didn’t get very much eye-time from you.)

You didn’t let us down, not once. Woman comes up on the pavement. You look at her chest. She walks by. Lower back.

Girl walking with a guy? She got it, too, but you were faster, more discreet, eyes flicking about more quickly.

Two kinds of women were spared. Women in hijabs, and women who were not upper or middle class. I assume that you feel that a woman in a hijab deserves respect that a woman not wearing a hijab doesn’t. I also assume you feel that women who are not upper or middle class aren’t worthy of that kind of interest from you. As my cousin pointed out, this means you choose who you look at, this means it’s conscious.

Several people (almost all of them men, in case you’re wondering) have told me that it’s not okay to be vocal about these things. I’m going to be told, after writing this that it’s vulgar for me to even be talking about how you were looking at a woman’s chest and lower back. That, in our culture, we just don’t talk about these things. I am going to have to defend myself against these words, right here, right now, as if it’s not you, but me, that is doing something wrong by bringing up that this happened.

Well, I am going to talk about them, anyway. I’m not going to wait until International Women’s Day and write an article vaguely but kindly talking about how we’re all equal and aren’t we all someone’s mother and sister, et cetera, et cetera. It isn’t always like that, you see. It’s not always vague, and gentle, and women’s rights, and how we should buy flowers for our mothers. It’s ugly. I don’t think anyone should ever pretend that it isn’t. If you think it’s ugly that I’m saying this, that’s because it’s ugly when I feel it when I’m walking on the street.

(Somehow, also, I think that you might be the kind of guy who thinks that all women should wear hijabs. I’m not sure if people will read this and think, well, women should just wear hijabs, if that’s what saves them on the street. I do not want to discuss whether or not women should wear the hijab here; that is a separate topic. I do want to make one thing very, very clear though: This conversation should never, ever be about what women should do to be treated differently by men. Ever. Respect is a right, plain and simple. It is not deserved, if. It is deserved, always.)

And oh, I won’t say “I know what it’s like for other people too” because I don’t, really, and it’d be wrong to say I do, but I will say that I am aware I am privileged. I can ride in my car. Only a few times have I experienced what happens on buses in Dhaka, rather than every day. I am so protected, so cushioned, from what many other women in this country face. To the point that I almost feel it is a crime for me to even open my mouth.

There are a thousand different things I love about this country. There are even a thousand different things I love about you. People like you will run over, in an earnest, helpful, noisy crowd when there’s an accident (or anything at all) on the street. You’re able to work in temperatures hotter than most people in the world can even stand to stand around in. You are probably who my mother talks about when she affectionately chuckles, “Bangali buddhi!” at some ridiculously funny and clever thing some Bangali has done.

But what I’ve described here? It makes me want to walk away from you, and from this place.

It isn’t my responsibility to solve this problem. But I’ll work on it, anyway. I’ll pour a crazy amount of time and energy into making it better, into hoping your son doesn’t do what you did, into protecting myself and my younger cousin from you when we go outside.

Time and energy I could have spent on something to make this country a better place for both of us.

Kaan Pete Roi: The Twenty-Month Update

This blog has returned for no reason except that a few wonderful young people have demanded that it should, people that are so wonderful that I apparently find it very hard to say no to them!

Now that it’s back, we’ll see where it goes. My previous blog was about the making of Kaan Pete Roi, Bangladesh’s first and only emotional support and suicide prevention helpline. While I’m sure I will write about Kaan Pete Roi often – it owns my heart and mind, now – I hope to also be thinking and writing about the rest of the world too.

I call this “Walking Back” because my walk from NYU to home every day is the longest, coldest, and, oddly, the best part of my day.

Kaan Pete Roi: The Twenty-Month Update

I’ll start with a few numbers. Kaan Pete Roi is open 5 days a week, 6 hours a day, except for Thursday, when it’s open for 12 hours. We’ve now trained 7 batches of volunteers, we have 4 staff members, and we have taken almost five thousand calls, a third of which have taken place after 9pm. We celebrate our two-year anniversary on April 28th, at which point we’ll have a team of about seventy people.

BUT, we of course don’t measure how we’re doing by numbers, so here are a few details. Rozina Khanam – Rozy – runs the show as Helpline Coordinator, KPR’s steadiest rock right from the beginning. Her co-staff are now Rubina Jahan Rumi, Outreach Coordinator; Arun Das, Volunteer Coordinator, and Muhtasabbib Rumman Matin, Referrals Specialist. Rumi and Arun are volunteers from the very first trainings, promoted to management for their sheer excellence and popularity. Muhtasabbib, one of my oldest friends, has also been with KPR since it’s baby stages, teaching us different ways to think about mental illness in Bangladesh and remembering the details that nobody else ever remembers. These four are what we call, with a touch of reverence, ‘the management.’ Several senior volunteers act as Backup Supervisors; they’re the ones who can (and often do) take over if the actual management members are unavailable for some reason. We have our very first School Representative and more and more people lining up to take on that role in their schools.

So what have we been upto? We officially joined the Befrienders Worldwide network as the newest member, and have made immensely productive connections with Befrienders members in Sri Lanka, India, Singapore, and the UK. We had our first fundraising concert, Kaan Pete Roi’s Evening with Arnob and Friends (check out photos here) which will go down in my life as one of my favourite Evenings; we were truly honoured to have Arnob Bhai, Pantha Bhai, Buno Bhai, Saad Bhai and Shoeb Bhai perform for us, and I still marvel that I got to make a speech in between songs. (Volunteers who made the concert happen are reading this and no doubt expecting me to make a special mention of them, so here you have it: your first concert was perfect, when’s the next one?) Media attention, awareness talks, and suicide prevention workshops have been thriving; we’ve done suicide prevention workshops with school teachers, police commissioners, rural community leaders, womens’ advocacy groups, and of course, many, many students. These days, if anything is happening in the country on mental health, we’re there! We now have our very first promotional short film, created by Nuhash Humayun and his team at Pique Productions (check it out here) which could not have captured our message more elegantly.

And we are taking more and more calls every day. Again, we do not measure our success by the number of calls, but by the interactions we have with the individuals who put their trust in us by calling. And I can see in our volunteers as they’re on the phone and when they hang up, and I can feel from those who write to us about their experiences with Kaan Pete Roi, that we are, actually, doing what we set out to do.

I am, of course, constantly stunned by this.

When I first wrote about Kaan Pete Roi, I wrote about the excitement and joy I felt because of the enthusiasm with which people came to volunteer. Now that it’s been almost two years, I also must mention the delight I feel about how that enthusiasm has been sustained. I could not be more proud of the work that people put into holding Kaan Pete Roi up. Even now, when the ‘petrol bomb’ (which should be some kind of sick joke but is unfortunately a reality) is a daily occurrence, our volunteers are still making their way to the office, on the buses and the rickshaws, to be there when the phones ring.

All done and thank you!

I’m tickled that I’m both starting and finishing this blog with a going-away party. I guess that means I’m doing something right. I’ve been putting off writing this last post, partly because it’s so busy in NYC, but more just because I don’t want to admit that it’s actually done. But I suppose a big part of doing anything is learning when to let it go, so here we are.

My official KPR going away party was on August 16th (two months ago!) at my grandmother’s house. It’s a tradition when we have a big group in that house to do what my mom calls a ‘kabab party’ – kabab-makers come in from old town and make the chicken and beef and parathas and jilapis right there, and you eat everything hot off the grill. It’s always a big hit. It was the night before our big KPR event, so we all had a lot of energy bouncing around. We cleared away furniture in the living room so that I could teach everyone the Cupid Shuffle. Everyone was all dressed up (I insisted my parents dress in adorable matching outfits so that the pictures would come out nicely.) and the house looked beautiful. My mother has truly perfected the art of throwing a large party, and it was laughingly, screamingly fun.

I’ve found, strangely, that I don’t want to write about the party in too much detail; many of the little things that made it wonderful for me are a bit like trying to explain an inside joke. Many of them I just want to hold inside myself; these are the things I think about, now, to calm my noisy heart when I feel a sudden burst of frustration and loneliness because now I live in New York City by myself. It was just a week before I left, you see, and while everyone was partying and taking pictures I kept having to step away because my eyes would fill just looking at them. It took an immense amount of energy to hold it together for most of the evening. I kept thinking, I don’t believe you all are here, I didn’t even know who you were at this time last year and, look, look at what we have done!

When they finally gave me the surprise that had been in the works, I just started crying. (Oh, there was a slideshow, and oh, there was a KPR poster with all the volunteers’ heads hilariously drawn as cartoons, but the real and most wonderful thing that they put an incredible amount of work into was an exquisitely detailed scrapbook telling my whole story of coming to Bangladesh and starting KPR. It is now my most treasured possession, and I carefully hand-carried it to New York with me. ) We sat on the floor for hours, me hugging the scrapbook to my chest, talking, holding hands, sharing stories and experiences from the year. I know, from our thank you board in the office, from what the callers say to us, that in doing KPR we have done something important for a lot of people out there. And yet, to me, it has become not as much about the helpline as it is about the relationships that we have made. The forty – forty , isn’t that incredible! – volunteers who love each other and me in the blunt, fierce, unwieldy way that they do – somehow, them all coming together is what feels like the biggest success.

Kaan Pete Roi continues to thrive and grow. Please follow our website and Facebook page to remain updated. I will leave this blog up here for awhile and can be contacted through it or by email at yeshim@shuni.org if anyone has questions or would like to become involved. I welcome all comments and suggestions! I will be back in Dhaka in December and in the summer, and I will continue to work with my KPR team to keep getting bigger and better. I recently told someone very close to my heart that some things were too good to be true and imagining them happening was “inconceivable,” and immediately and correctly got put in my place for saying such a thing. KPR is just a beginning. Let’s see where we can go.

And so, to wrap up, I have several people I would like to thank for helping me create Kaan Pete Roi, names I would like to write and say out loud. (For those of you who are reading, thank you, also, for following the journey. Please stay with us!)

First, to my beautiful friends in the U.S, from Cornell and Cambridge. The very first people to have heard about the idea. Kevin DeLong, Claire Miziolek, Aylin Ince, Caitlin Cutter, Anna Wu, Rosemary Ziemnik, Rebecca Distefano, Ellyn Schmidt, Vikram Rao, Alka Menon, Julia Rozier, Colleen Farrell, Ryan Spagnolo, Ally Barnes, Alex Bardis. A special shout out to Rosemary, Becca, and Alex, who made a point of letting me know they were there every step of the way.

The individuals at Samaritans from whom I learned how to do this work, with whom I shared shifts, and who told me that they were always with me. Ron White, Danielle Bolduc, Jonathan Grollman, Emma Kerry.

All the members of Harvard’s LDS, for their donations – the first donations to KPR – but much, much more for their love. Particularly to Susan and Debbie for their guidance.

For their wisdom, kindness, donations, and support
Susan Carey, Debbie Zaitchik, Matt Nock, Amelia Habicht, Munir Hasan, Farid Ahmed, Md. Jaynal Abedin, Ahsan Habib, Shaheen Islam, Ayesha Khanam, Sultana Kamal, Mohit Kamal, Afroza Amin, Md. Kaykobad, Saiful Haque, Parveen Cole, James Cole, Yasmin Ali Haque.

For their support in getting KPR off the ground and for our beautiful logo
Hasnat Shahrear Pranto, Samira Zuberi Himika, and the individuals at Team Engine

For 100 days of KPR
Farid Ahmed

For all the time, every single day
Swapan Bhai, Beli Khala, Nilufer Khala.

For even the possibility
My parents, Yasmeen Haque and Muhammed Zafar Iqbal

For web-things, but more for the encouraging texts
Abu Awal Md. Shoeb

For the publicity, but more for the fun
Anik Khan

For courage and cooperation
Muhtassabbib Rumman Matin

For making the last few days beautiful
Samir Obaid

For the conversations that kept me going
Sheila Ahmed, Nuhash Humayun, Nova Ahmed, Bipasha Ahmed, Shabnam Shaheed, Ajmeri Chowdhury, Mariam Khandaker, Shabnam Ahsan Esha, Adiba Binte Razzak Tithi.

For emails that contain the phrase “woohoo!”
Nabil Iqbal

For “Paro tumi. Everyday paro.”
Rebecca Haque

For the patience that made it all okay when it otherwise would not have been
Steven Lydon

For her leap of faith when there was nothing and no one
Rozy Hossain

For “KPR hobe” and making that phrase a reality
Hammad Ali

For making it possible for me to keep moving without a drop of worry
Umme Kawser Lata

Lastly and most importantly, for being the ones who do all the work, tirelessly, uncomplainingly, beautifully. You have changed the way I think about the world. All the Kaan Pete Roi volunteers.

100 Days of Kaan Pete Roi

(I’m going slightly out of chronological order as I write the last few posts, mainly because this sequence makes a little more sense in terms of wrapping up the blog.)

We had an Event. It had a name – “Kaan Pete Roi er eksho din” (100 days of Kaan Pete Roi), but we just kept calling it the Event as we went about the planning. We ultimately decided against a press conference, because apparently press conferences are boring and media just shows up, grabs a press release, and runs away. So we decided to do an explosively fun Event, to celebrate KPR’s being open for 100 days, and invite famous people to speak, and lots and lots of media, and have musical performances, and we talk a little about the journey, and give the volunteers a chance to go onstage (faces cleverly concealed, of course, “No Volunteer Faces, but they’re still speaking on a stage and it’s still awesome”). And thank yous, lots of thank yous, yes.

Here’s what the invitation card looked like (but envision it in blue, we changed it to blue before printing.)

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 12.59.12 AM

August 17th, 2013.

Oh, the morning was exhausting. Rozy and Lata and Hammad and Samir and Ammu and of course, Farid Uncle (without whom nothing would have happened, at all) went to our venue in the morning to work on setting up. Public Library at Shahbag is one of the most widely used spaces in all of Dhaka. They have an event there every single day, and the employees of course don’t care about your event nearly as much as you do, so you end up sort of freaking out in general while they shuffle around. I was exhausted, hot, and stressed out the entire time, because nothing was happening, and then when it was it happened agonizingly slowly. But my volunteers started to show up, no names but if you’re reading this you know who you are. And they took care of everything, I’d say “batteries” or “balloons” and it’d just happen. My god, how much WORK it all was. Nothing, nothing happens easily. The desks and chairs you see on a stage at an event. The flowers on the table. The table cloth. The harmonium and tabla. All of it, someone had to do it, and when it’s your event, you’re very very aware of that, aware of the labor, of the sweating, of the dust, of the not enough time.

We RUSHED home for lunch and to dress. (My volunteers who were there in the morning, I might add, did not enjoy this luxury of going home. Despite my urging to take it easy, they stayed and worked the entire day.)

When we got back, about an hour before the event was scheduled to begin – no longer tired because of the adrenaline and the coffee that I practically force-fed everyone – media, media was what surprised me! Farid Uncle had told me to get media, and we planned it to get media, but still! They were there! And they wanted to talk to me, too, not only to the famous people! As the protishthata (Founder. “Protishthata” is what everyone calls me, and laughs that I can’t quite say the word.) and for the first time in my life, I’m surrounded, literally surrounded by cameras and microphones, and I’m talking, and I see some of my volunteers giggling in the distance.

And then we were rolling! It was: National Anthem → speeches → Sera singing → speeches → Samir singing → Hammad and I speaking → Sera and Samir’s duet → Volunteers speaking, elegantly from behind a screen so that only their silhouette was visible → Q&A. Rozy and Lata anchoring.

Oh, of all the things I will ever do, this event will surely be the most glorious, the most triumphant, the most full of love. I could go on and and on, but It’s moments, of course. Moments, that are glowing for me. Ammu had the opening speech. Abbu’s speech, “I sometimes go visit their office, and I will occasionally hear them shouting out in joy from the phoneroom. This is when they have hung up the phone, and they are celebrating because they helped someone.” Dr. Shaheen Islam, Lata’s mentor, head of Education and Counseling Psychology at DU, touching my cheek, “You have done wonderful work.” Her speech! “So many people have come to me and said they’ll start a helpline, these people are the only ones who have actually done it.” Looking across the auditorium, seeing one of my volunteers cheerfully leading in a blind individual (from Bangladesh Visually Impaired People’s Society) and showing him his seat. Another volunteer’s little sister smiling at me shyly. Sera, a member of our team, singing Ami Kaan Pete Roi. High fiving Hammad on stage when we were done with our speeches. Peeking into the audience from backstage and seeing every seat filled. Samir winking at me from stage while he’s singing. My aunt, standing up from the audience to request a Lalon geeti from Samir, him laughing and immediately breaking one out. The volunteers, each speaking about what they love the most about KPR, me watching them from backstage across the stage, eyes all teary-blurry. My grandmother asking to meet my volunteers, her thanking them for helping me make my dream come true. Meeting the volunteers’ parents! How many times did I shake a father’s hands and lean in to kiss a mother’s cheek, thanking them over and over for giving us their kids. An event volunteer asking if he can take a picture of himself holding my hand to show off to his friends. A random girl shyly saying, “Apu…you are REALLY awesome” and running off.

Could anything have been more beautiful? More of a triumph? To have this glorious celebration of all our work? To have so many wonderful people celebrating KPR with us?

…Actually, yes. For me personally, at least. Stay tuned for my last few posts, and for a few photos from the event that I’ll put up.

(Phone calls to Kaan Pete Roi shot through the roof after the publicity we received from the event, in case you’re wondering! Many people just inquiring/thanking, but we also just had a massive reach because of this.)

Facebook Favour

I am going to put up just a few more posts in the coming weeks, but I very quickly wanted to direct everyone to Kaan Pete Roi’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/kaan.pete.roi

If you haven’t already, I would very much appreciate if you could follow the page and share our updates.

We’re of course non-profit and publicity’s always a struggle. Word of mouth is very important, and we appreciate all the help we can get in this regard. Thank you!

Last Full Day at the KPR office!

August 15th, 2013, my last full day at the KPR office! We decided to have a board meeting in the morning. There wasn’t much for the board to meet about, because most major decisions had already been taken, but it seemed like a fun idea. Jaynal Uncle is on the board and he’s the person who takes care of all things official. As we do for all big meetings, we sat on the floor of the office, and, with the help of Jaynal Uncle, drank tea and discussed all things official. I herded the board members out as soon as 11 am rolled around, because all other KPR members started to arrive to rehearse for the event on Saturday. As it turned out, this rehearsal was mostly me sitting cross legged on the sofa and shouting instructions that most people probably didn’t listen to. But that’s how most things go down at KPR, and somehow things happen anyway. Samir and Sera decided to sing a duet, to the wild applause of the KPR-crowd.

The rehearsal ended, but you see I was leaving in a few days, and some sort of mysterious surprise was in the works, so everyone continued to mill around and stop me from going into various rooms. I’d try to go from the staffroom to the front room, and Rozy would suddenly grab my arm and pull me into a corner to talk about something arguably important but totally irrelevant to our already too-busy day. I’d get away from her and suddenly Hammad would be standing in the way. I’d peek over his arm to see the volunteers bent over and scribbling at something. They’d see me peeking and everyone would sort of squeal and try and cover whatever it was they’re doing.

It was all just too delightful.

Hammad and I took a rickshaw to go get lunch from BFC, last rickshaw ride and last BFC of the year! Back in the office, laden with chicken-ticken, we crowded on the floor of the staffroom, dropping little bits of the oily chicken breading all over the floor. (It was actually pretty gross, and worth mentioning because it has become a KPR-benchmark of general grossness. Like someone will say, “I saw something really gross today” and someone else will say “How gross? I bet not as gross as that time we ate BFC fried chicken in the office and dropped oily breading all over the floor.”)

We then continued to work all day, preparing for the event, speaking to invited guests on the phone, going over speeches. The day didn’t get heavy until evening or so, when we were all exhausted and it started to kick in that I actually was leaving. Everyone’s face got tight and we all got a bit quiet and stopped making eye contact with each other. It was night shift that night, but I wasn’t staying, at that point it was Rozy and Lata doing all the work. I was leaving in a few days, and everyone insisted I go home to spend time with the family or some such, so it was Rozy and Lata managing things, and taking calls, and being in the office for more than 24 hours straight.

I managed to not become a sniffly, teary mess that day. Saved that up for the days that came after.

Almost done!

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on here! Mostly because I’ve been in the process of moving to NYC to start graduate school. My year in Bangladesh is officially, heartbreakingly over, which means it is time for me to start finishing off this blog. KPR is thriving, and the end of my year had many an explosive event, so over the next few days (weeks?) I’ll write about how that all went, and wrap up with many, many thanks.

In the meantime, please see my incredible friend and member of the KPR team, Samir Obaid, talk about his experience with addiction on Ekattor TV on Sunday, September 8th, at 9:30 pm Dhaka time. (That’s 11:30 am Eastern time.) Live stream here.