Diary of an Intern: Nusrat Ahmed. Princeton. New Jersey. The Eid Craze.
“Isn’t it sad? How all these people can’t even expect to see a change when they really need it? Like, whatever situation they are in now, it’s like they’re in it forever,” I said to my mom as we were riding in a rickshaw.
“We don’t go to sleep with big dreams for literally a different tomorrow either,” she scoffed at my naivety.
“Yes, but at least you have the hope that one day things will probably change, since you’re working towards it, for it to actually happen in the future. These kids don’t even have education. Every day is the same to them,” I argued back. And she fell silent.
Eid has never been just another day for me. It’s the day I wake up to the smell of my mom’s sugary sweets and warm chicken. It’s the day I wear my best clothes. The ones I make my dad iron the night before. The ones I hanger in my closet separate from all my other clothes. It’s the day of happiness and the day of family.
This Eid, however, was the first Eid I spent in Bangladesh. And I woke up differently. The new dress in my closet didn’t receive the attention it should have and the food on the table was not finished as it usually does. All that was on my mind were the street kids who were about to receive new Eid clothes. I wondered if the girls were running around, brushes and bands in hand, zipping up each other’s dresses. If the boys were ironing their shirts with their hands, with tupi’s on the middle of their head or tilted to the side.
These children have taught me the real meaning of friendship, hardship, and happiness. With the little they have, they make the most of it. And they share. They smile.
I partnered with Restless Beings to give Eid presents to over 400 street kids. Even though there was a lot of ruckus and noise, the gifts were successfully given out. They were given clothes, fruit, sandals, towels, book bags, etc. Handing out gifts to the children was one of the greatest experiences in my life because it was nice to know that they would be wearing the things I got them. Their bloody and dirty feet, feet that have walked in and out of many situations, would now have protection from the harshness of the ground. And even if I couldn’t physically be with them all my life, knowing that they were wearing shoes helped bridge the separation.
I have undoubtedly had one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. These children have taught me the real meaning of friendship, hardship, and happiness. With the little they have, they make the most of it. And they share. They smile. They jump into puddles of water when it rains because they can.
But they deserve a better tomorrow. They deserve a tomorrow that begins with a different sun. While giving out Eid gifts made an impact on their life, I would love to one day provide for them something that is more long term i.e. help in the form of sponsoring education for them.
I hope one day I can.
So they can see their full potential. So they can see the talent I see in them every single time I met with them. I wish I could have bottled up Shahid’s laughter or Muqtasim’s smile and wear it round my neck. But while I cannot; their memories, their stories, and their struggle will always remain a part of me.
Thank you to Restless Beings for their undying support.