My host Hasnain’s family is well connected all over Bangladesh. Family friends run the hindu/muslim organization MUKTI which was inspired by Swami Vivekananda. Their mission is to fight poverty and injustice, in particular towards women and girls. Their local members, friends, family and general public packed a small hall for the evening show which was quite honestly an absolute blast to do and, by all accounts (and by the copious laughter and guffaws), a blast to see. One little boy stole the show with his dramatic reactions and habit of throwing things at the clown with great precision (and a little professional timing on my part) to riotous exclamations.
In the crowd you can see Hasnain’s Belgian friend, Willy, who has been in Bangladesh for 18 years (and has taken to Islam). He is able to live on a fraction of the costs of life Europe or the US. He was the third white person I had seen in 2 weeks.
After the show MUKTI took us out to a nice restaurant. The main meal was very tasty and traditional Bangla, but the thai soup and wanton appetizers were exceptional and made a nice change. Overall the food on the trip has been fabulous from private homes to simple restaurants it is evident the pride and care that goes into food preparation with all fresh ingredients (and no ‘generations-old’, as they say, recycled curries one can find on the sub-continent.) One is expected to really eat a lot and clean one’s plate to the drop….so I’m adding a few pounds even though I make copious use of ‘Aa lag bena’ (more not wanted) and ‘ped bore che’ (my belly is full). In a land where so many are starving I feel more than a tad guilty, though it’s how my hosts, and the staff at schools all eat…and I do need the calories for the rigors of travel and shows.