There’s no experience quite like journeying to the Bangladeshi countryside and meeting face-to-face with the village people. Although there was a major language barrier between us all, in this instance the face said it all. Everywhere we turned there were curious faces peeping out between the palm fronds and tall grasses. I’m sure they’d never before seen any facial features other than those of the familiar Bengal face. But there we were, my strange family trio consisting of a white haired white man, a Chinese woman, and me, the strange in-between specimen. Like before, a crowd of people followed us wherever we went, trying to catch a glimps of our alien faces, and exchange smiles. And there were many smiles; genuine, thankful ones that spoke of joy regardless of poverty. The women hid their faces and laughed when we pointed our cameras at them, the children ran by us giggling, sometimes chasing wild dogs. Visiting these people, and seeing them retrieve water from the very rain-catchment systems we’d provided them, really gave our abstract philanthropic organizational some solidity, some more authenticity. I had always wanted to support those in need, but such an experience as this one was a wonderful reminder of what we take for granted in the developed world, what many are deprived of, and most of all brought inspiration and passion back into our project. The Bengal people had thanked us for their drinking water; now I thank them for bringing meaning into my life.


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