Neela’s homesickness for Bangladesh
It was Neela’s own wish – the wish to know how her father’s home country looks like, and how her family members are living in Bangladesh. Eleven years old Neela was so much interested that she made her parents to agree to fulfill her dream. She flew with her mother Pamela Metschar-Kafi for three weeks to South-Asia during Carnival holidays.
Neela remember exactly how she felt once she left the airport. “I was happy to be there finally. However, I was excited, but surprised too. Everything looks so different in comparison to Germany,” says eleven years old Neela. Many of the buildings were dilapidated, outside on the streets was very loud, and she had been confronted with poverty everywhere. “Kids were begging. It was a terrible sight”.
She did not feel really comfortable at the beginning. “I was not able to talk to anybody”, although she is familiar to the mother tongue Bangla. “But I understand only a few words, and I cannot really talk Bangla,” Neela added. Most of her family members are living in grandmother’s house. The standard of living is really not comparable to Germany. For example, there was no warm water system that is a must in every house in Germany. “And there were huge cockroaches, and they can fly even” Neela says with surprise and fear in her eyes. Neela found it really horrible.
The Association Shishu Neer:
But Eleven years old Neela knew already what she was getting into. She knew already about Bangladesh from the stories of her parents. Her parents formed the association Shishu Neer about five years ago. This association runs a child protection and learning centre for more than 80 girls and boys. It is located near to the capital city of Bangladesh – Dhaka. Children learn how to read, how to write and to count. Among many of the facilities apart from getting love and affection, they can get shower, wash clothes, and they also get free lunch.
On the very first day of her arrival, Neela wanted to visit the school. She was already expected there, and got so many small gifts. “I was so surprised to see those boys and girls so happy, although they are roofless children, and they have almost nothing”, Neela added.
There were some unpleasant experiences too. For example, on the day when she ventured (or dare???) into slum, which was not that far from her grandmother’s house. “I was really scared”, says Neela, “especially on that moment when the police arrived, and tore some of the huts. “It was really a big harassment”, Neela added.
But there were many wonderful moments too. That was her experience while visiting her father’s native village in Bangladesh, where life is still very simple. Neela made a speed boat tour to see the jungle and also the mangrove forest.
“In the end, I did not want to come back to Germany” Neela said. Her relatives cried before she left Bangladesh. But one thing was clear to Neela. It was not her last visit. “I am really homesick for Bangladesh”
The original article is published on the renowned Stuttgart Zeitung. Read the original article in German.
English Translation by BSAAG member Mohammad Monir Hossain-Melzer