Walking out the doors we pass three male guards dressed in uniform with guns as well as three females whom are also wearing bullet proof vests and helmets. This is starting to get a little scary. Our first peak of Bangladesh in daylight, and we have guards to walk us ten feet to our bus!
Our practice is apparently an hour and a half away due to traffic. We are off and the streets are overflowing with big tricycles, motorized and regular, as regular as you can get here! They have an optional roof that is like a carriage but decorated with the flair of Bangladesh; lots of bright colors and sequins, and pretty patterns. The unique roof mask the rusty trike underneath. There is nothing new in the city. Everything is old and refurbished. All the cars, buses, bikes, trikes, etc are all old, rusty, and rackety. As we ride along the road all we hear are the incessant honking of horns. No wonder this will take forever; we are going as fast as the cyclists pedaling their trikes!
As I look out the window I see everyone's legs are covered and it's a million degrees out. Men are wearing jeans, long skirts, and even white or brown men's dresses. Every woman is wearing longsleeves and many have their heads covered. We complain about having to wear pants in this sweltering heat and the women are covered head to toe every day of their lives! (We have to cover our legs when we leave the hotel, but not when we play)
Ahh. Now we are in the middle of the intersection and there is a vehicle within inches of every side of our bus! There's a traffic officer screaming holding a wooden stick. Not sure what that is for. I don't know if red lights mean go here but there is no regard to any of the traffic lights.
We pass a lot f beggars and people selling stuff. They don't care about being aggressive as they tap on our windows and stare at us. One man is missing an arm. Another man we see is so skinny you can see his ribs from the backside, okay maybe not his ribs, but every bone is seen poking thru his skin. Our coach passes a muffin she saved from the plane to an elderly woman.
This is extreme culture shock. I cannot believe Bangladesh can even field a team with this way of life. This is a life of survival. I've been living a life of following my dreams and passions. We take so much for granted back in the states. The simple things we overlook everyday, from freedom of expression in our clothing to driving our own new car at 16 to having a nice clean bathroom and shower. This is definitely the worse I've seen.
I think being in the city is worse than being out in the country. I've been to the province in the Philippines and the campo in El Salvador and there, it is so clean and beautiful despite lack if luxuries. The city though is just filthy and dirty and crowded. I could never live here. I commend these people for what they have been through and what they are still going through. Not one of my teammates can take in this scene and not be thankful and grateful for what they have back at home. We are truly blessed; and it's experiences like these that make us take a step back and realize how great our lives are. #humbled