Latest posts by Michelle Yost (see all)
- The Harvest - September 22, 2016
- A Story of Empowerment: Koushik Propelledthe Engine of Social Change in Bangladesh - September 15, 2016
- Child Labour or Slavery: Minhaz is the Hope for Change! - September 8, 2016
The labour of love never goes waste. It is always blessed with fruition. Michelle, our columnist, and her partner, Md. Kaushik put their shoulders to the wheel. Against all odds, they rescued and rehabilitated street children, in Gazipur, in Bangladesh. They took measures to make their benevolent project self-reliant. A building and a farm they acquired bloomed with golden rice harvest. Parents of the street children joined hands and harvested the standing paddy crop in a day’s time. It’s one of the best success stories that restores faith and trust in the essential goodness of poor people. Read more about it, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
‘We Help and We Learn’ has been anxiously awaiting this day. The rice is ready to come in. But, as you all know, we ran out of financial help right before and thought we might lose the crop due to lack of help. Md. Koushik Ahmed is great, but he is only one man. The children worried also. They knew, they are from the streets, and are so smart about survival that they feared also. Tensions ran high, children’s voices begging me to keep trying to send a gift for them to live and go to school. I felt it too.
But to our relief and surprise, fathers of our students came to help. So many that the day was full of work and laughter. The rice was harvested! But it took all day, several men, and so much labor. They sought no gain for the efforts. Just support for what We Help and We Learn does for Gazipur’s poor. The boat is one of the best decisions we have made because it is loaned out to the community we are slowly building.
This helps us spread the word. As does the tea shop, where we employ a man we had helped after he lost his hand in an employment related accident. Our hopes are big. Our expectations small. We are so thrilled and grateful we can hardly say thank you to everyone enough. They worked hard. They did not give their names to me but posed for a picture and we got a few other shots of the day. We are Blown Away!
The next rice crop is already ours as we saved seeds. There will be no extra cost. The next crop has already been started. It is all vegetables. With this strategy of rotating crops, everyone does this, we keep our soil fertile and strong. The hens are laying eggs every day. We have a lot of them. With each step we make towards more success, we are a little more confident. This project could almost be self- sustainable we think eventually.
In the meantime, we still will have needs we cannot meet. Children grow so fast. They have just been given new uniforms. But we did that three months ago too. It makes me smile to know that they are growing and doing well physically. We still have need of donor support for these kind of things. We are also still looking for a trauma specialist who would like volunteer some time. We can translate for you. We can do it over the computer. Adaptation is what we are based on in the first place. There are so many ways. Suggestions are welcome. Trauma therapy is beyond our means.
But back to the harvest. We now have a large piece of land that we need to reseed with vegetables. That too will require very hard work and we hope and pray, more volunteers. The job is very big and as I have said, Hercules is just one man. Oops, Koushik is his name! But in my mind he has his own fame. He will work the land by himself until every seed has been planted. He will work twelve hour days and we will not speak at all. He is collapsed in bed getting ready to start again.
I am afraid we are too much the same! I am learning or trying to learn how to be a support without being a partner. It is difficult but they must fly on their own. These articles are my efforts at support. Oh boy do I need to catch up with up with technology! I also have no experience with fund raising, my job has always been the same as Koushik’s. I am looking for support in this area as well, any and all suggestions on this subject are so welcome. Please get in touch by email with We Help in the subject line and you will find a fast response! I know my weaknesses.
I have written a poem to show you our joy at this moment in time. I will post it separately. Bangladesh is predominately Islamic and there was a very important holiday yesterday that was celebrated both at We Learn and privately. Al-Adha Mubarak, a day of no sacrifice. Koushik and our readers will understand better than I can explain but is of great significance. The children decorated for both the harvest and the holiday. Even our cow got a children’s project around her neck, I smile again.
She did not look pleased at all. But she is pregnant. I give her points for putting up with it. She is first of our herd, yes I know we need more. But don’t forget our goats. Lago loves to play with the goats. I am so proud and happy with my Bangladesh family it is hard to contain myself so I should end this article here. But thanks for all the prayers!
Pix sourced by author.