This country has given me everything I hoped. Genuine kindness. Examples of humbleness. Actions of care, concern and sisterly and brotherly love. Everyone told me not to come here, so naturally I had to. To prove them wrong. To tackle sensational media headlines. To show that however bad you automatically assume something is, there’s always a counteracting side determined to set things right.
I thought he was on the right side.
Everything hopeful and promising about this country is starting to slowly fade. I’m staring at him. Watching him. Assessing the situation at the speed of light in my well-travelled mind. This has never happened before. How the hell are we going to play this together?
Tick, tock, tick, tock. The blood is rushing to my dusty sand-covered feet. Under the beating unforgiving sun, the trees are gently whistling to us, trying to calm the situation before this all turns into a misfortunate event. ‘Don’t do this to me’ I beg the cosmos. Don’t ruin this trip. Don’t let it end like this.
Tick. Tick. Like a calculated cowboy ready to pull the trigger, his eyes stare back into mine. I sharply inhale the hot breeze surrounding me and project my command. ‘Give it back’ I shout.
The grains of sand kick up into the air as he sprints for the trees. Their leaves let out a sound of panic as they furiously rustle. He throws himself through a tiny gap in their wall and shoots off across the land.
Tock. For a second, I feel the grains of sand are taking his side, pulling me in with all their might. My feet feel like they’re being claimed by the earth, slowly washed up by the current to be forever buried and left on this bare-boned island. I roar against the tide and kick my heels into the ground, chasing him with everything I’ve got. The breeze is picking up and as I blast through the gap, the terrain changes to my feet pounding through an open farming field.
His mouse-like frame scatters left, right, left…darting through a makeshift wooden stick fence. I crash through the opening and immediately come face to face with the villagers expelling shrieks of surprise.
Foreigners don’t come here.
That mouse-like thief is nowhere to be seen.
The adrenaline is quickly draining from my veins and shock is flooding in to replace feelings of peace and calm from my afternoon stroll. I’m crying. Maybe those warnings from the newspaper headlines are true. ‘Bangladesh is dangerous’ they said.
The village ladies jump to their feet, running towards me, gesturing for me to sit down and breathe. ‘He’s stolen my phone’ I blurt out. Desperately throwing my hands around to try and communicate who he is, what he has done and beg for help, the news spreads like wildfire. The whole village arrives to see the spectacle.
Concerned murmurs gradually build into a full on active operation. The villagers dart off in different directions whilst the Grandma of the village gently soothes my soul. One man approaches mimicking it being thrown into the sea.
Has it really gone?
Suddenly, the young child appears kicking and wailing. The village has found him and his Mother is livid. They begin scolding him. Swiping at him. Part of me wants to join in; the other part wants it to stop. He’s realising his actions were wrong and he’s definitely paying the price.
He’s sorry but the phone is still nowhere to be seen.
New information comes to light.
The villagers quickly disperse, anxiously clawing their way through the sand. I believe they are as determined as me to prove that Bangladeshi people are good, kind, caring, generous and genuine. We hear an excited yelp and one of them runs over to me.
Anxiously dusting the sand away with his tattered shirt, he places it gently in my hands. With little money and few possessions, the villagers’ actions speak volumes.
Bangladesh is unsafe? Bangladesh is dangerous? Think again.
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Alice Teacake is not your usual solo female traveller. She’s honest, frank and believes in women grabbing fear by the balls in order to face their fears, push their boundaries and reach their full potential. She stands up for womens’ rights, mindful and meaningful travel and a good cup of tea. You can get your daily dose of feminist inspiration from Teacake on her blog, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.