Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fulbright Blog
Date: November 8, 2006
Place: Dhaka

Yesterday was another random Bangladeshi holiday - Solidarity Day. Everyone was off of work...

When I went to the New Market to visit the tailor the other night, Shefali told me this wonderful story which she said that I could share with you. I relay it now because a) I think that it is an amazing tale and b) it really gives a good picture of the woman that I am working with.

When Shefali was a girl, she lived with her maternal uncle to make it easier for her to go to school. She had two female cousins who also lived in the house. The uncle was very strict with the cousins, but Shefali said that he could not be as strict with her because she was not his daughter (plus she probably would not have listened anyway...)

One day the girls were told that they could not go to school that day. Shefali asked why not, because they went to school everyday. Her uncle replied that there was a sports competition at school and girls were not allowed to participate. She wanted to go anyway, but her uncle would not let her. So Shefali convinced her cousins to sneak out. They entered the school through the back door and talked to their sports coach who agreed to let them participate. Unfortunately, the uncle happened to go to the market next to the school and he saw the girls participating. He came in and told them that they had to go home. The two daughters were really scared, so they left, but Shefali stayed!

She competed in the badmitton tournament. She wore her sari because they wouldn't let her wear shorts. And she won! The whole tournament!! I thought it was a great story...

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