Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Country Presentation: Bangladesh, Our Pride

It was time for getting prepared. So...preparing for what?  
My Lovely Stall of Bangladesh
The most important part you may say.
The Country Presentation!
We ran towards the training room as we had only one hour for settling everything up.  We brought many traditional things with us that could represent the culture and the tradition of Bangladesh. I had brought some hand-made accessories and Nakshi Kantha (Designed hand-stitched wrapper) and some materials related to my country. And my co-partner Sazzat Hossain shopped on the night before our flight so I had no idea what he had got with him. But I insisted him consistently to shop from Aarong, which we called our most traditional shopping center and I also insisted him to take some Bangladeshi sweets so that we could welcome people in our stall by offering sweets.

We were all packed in decorating our stall. This type of country presentation is called “Market Place Presentation” where every participant from each country had to bring something traditional with him/her and each group had to decorate their stall so attractively so that it might catch everyone’s glimpse.
Busy .. Busy .. Busy!

We were so much engaged in decoration that James and the other facilitators kept reminding us “Lunch!! It’s time for lunch!! Please go and take your lunch!” I did not know how did the time pass but when I looked around I was the only person working there and everyone else had left for lunch! I was almost done. There remained one or two stuffs to do but I was as hungry as shark.

My neighbors, Bosnians, were busy too

I ran for meal. I was in so hurry I just picked up the foods did not even think for twice. And in some moments, the only sound was heard in the Dining Hall was the clattering of my spoon and fork!
For some reason the food seemed most delicious than the other days. I regretted for a moment that I did not even have time to eat properly. At that point Rasitha came to me anxiously and wondered, “Are you okay?”
I smiled and said, “It’s nothing, I just have to finish some stuffs for country presentation”. He smiled back and said nothing. He must have understood my jammed mind!

Things we brought from Bangladesh

I ran again! Now the only thing that was left was a flag. I put my all effort to make it super-fast! And Finally I was done, and had a spared moment to look around.

The entire training room was changed. It was not a mere Training room anymore, rather it represented a place where six countries and six types of cultures and their flavors had mingled. Every corner of the Training room was reflecting each country’s pride and individuality. Pakistan and Bosnia were my neighbors, again!  In the left corner, there were UK and Egypt and Sri Lanka’s stall was just in front of me. Thushara and Thaya, two of the Sri Lanka’s Facilitator made it a real market place to some extent! All I could see a traditional street market and two traditional shop-keepers! That was fun.

Stall is full of curious customers!

In a moment we all were engaged in maintaining the customers of our stalls and exploring others. Sazzat went to explore with his camera, and I was there to meet up my customers needs! It was exciting, really. People were visiting stalls and asking questions about this and that. I talked a lot. Shared my country’s pride, and heritages, and culture, also described the history, and most importantly shared my feelings about what made my country so special. Yes, my country was special. Where could you find such a small country still fighting with hope? Where could you find a country where people did not stop dreaming in spite of the nightmares of reality? Where could you find such a country so rich and colorful with culture, so wealthy with love and so humble with hospitality? We never gave up, never stopped chasing lights of inspiration and never stopped believing in ourselves. That was our specialty.

Talking was enough, my voice started to crack and my jaws were aching .So, I went to explore. I visited my neighbors first. Stall of Pakistan was very colorful as well. I could see a very gorgeous Salwar Kameez displayed over the counter, and some bangles and jewelries.  That was the thing with Shahida. I could not believe when I came to know, she had brought five pairs of shoes with her, five bags and did not wanna know how many dresses. And she was our roaming food-corner. Chips, snacks, apples whatever you needed was available in her bag; or bags.
Aya is quite overwhelmed with presentation!

The entire UK team in front of their stall

The stall of Sri Lanka was very welcoming. When they heard I was thirsty and my voice was broken, they instantly offered me a King Coconut of Sri Lanka. That was the 1st time when I had a chance to drink Sri Lanka’s famous King Coconut. It was awesome! I could never find such tasty coconut water in Bangladesh. It’s quite impossible. I was energized in a moment! And the food of the day also came from Sri lanka's stall; It was made of some kind of sea weed. It tasted sweet and delicious! 
Delicious food made of sea weed

I found Kaveesha Madushani de Silva, another participant from Sri Lanka teaching some exclusive movements of Sri Lanka’s traditional dance to some UK’s participants. We joined together! And we all were dancing! First Sri Lanka, then Pakistan, then UK then it came to me to show and teach them some traditional moves of Bangladeshi dance. Was not it wonderful? To get mingled with everyone in such a way? We all were having a very tiring day with loads of sessions and works but still, with each other, the energy meter never seemed to be lowered down.

Yes, we were all having an experience of our life-time.

(To be continued)