“Now, I often spend my time watching foreigners work. They cut all our trees. We no longer have our canal. All our ponds are gone. I used to bathe in the canal and catch fish all the time. Now, I cannot do these things.
13 years old, Borokunjonpara, Taltoli
Writer and Photographer: Fabeha Monir
I am in class six. This year, my results were not good. I do not go to school regularly. My neighbor friends are living in different locations now. When we lived together in our village, we used to go to school together. Now, I feel bad when I must go to school by walking through wet mud.
I was doing good in school even two months ago. Then, suddenly, my sister got married. She always helped me with my studies. My sister was very good at study. She is three years older than me. Now, she lives in Dhaka. She cannot study anymore. In our home location now, a power plant has been made. Too many big machines are working there all the time. I was afraid of foreigners. Everyone cried a lot when they got the notice to evacuate their houses. We were sitting in the road for months. We sold our cows.
Now, I often spend my time watching foreigners work. They cut all our trees. We no longer have our canal. All our ponds are gone. I used to bathe in the canal and catch fish all the time. Now, I cannot do these things.
My parents advised me to study very hard. They thought they’d lost everything because they are not educated. I try hard to study. Our house was forty years old. I drew a picture of our old home and gave it, as a present, to my sister. She took that in her bag when she left. She told me she might look at the picture if she missed us. Our village was very beautiful. There were lots of trees. In winter, we ate cakes, roti with homemade sweets. I, myself, used to catch big hilsa herring. My mother always gave us fresh fish fries to eat. After eating those, I usually went to school. Now we do not get such fishes anymore. They blocked our canal. From this wetland, water cannot pass. Now, I eat rice with salt and, after having this, I go to school.
I have heard China is the name of a very developed country. Their people work very hard; but, in our village, no one talks good about them. I also read that if we cut trees this causes harm to our environment. If people close canals, then fishermen suffer the most. They brought sands from our islands and filled up our entire land. When they work with big machines, it makes noise. Then earth shakes. It feels like an earthquake. At first, we couldn’t sleep at night. We were very scared.
My parents still cry a lot. They said poor people must always suffer. I do not like to cry. I want to do something for my village when I become an adult. My sister wanted to become a big officer so that she can serve the villagers. I also want to do something like this.
My parents want to send me to the city. I do not want to go to the city. I like the environment of our village a lot. I want my village to become the same beautiful and peaceful place it once used to be. Everyone says that now there is no peace. Our new village is waterlogged. People do not have much to eat. Everyone is suffering. I will try to do good in the future. I want to make my parents proud. I want to bring good to my village when I grow older.