As predicted, my work this week remained within Dhaka, which was fine with me. My supervisor and Rezwana were traveling and away from the office on Sunday and Monday, so I was able to work remotely as well.
A large portion of my work this week was researching laws related to human trafficking here in Bangladesh. While this may seem straight forward, keep in mind, other ancillary requirements may also play a role in enforcing human trafficking laws. For instance, in the United States, we have the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, but we also have both federal and criminal codes to help enforce this act. In 2012, Bangladesh enacted the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, but they also have labor regulations, The Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, 2000, and the Overseas Employment and Migrants Act of 2013, to name a few.
One of the things I find most interesting when reading legislation is the utilization of specific words. Something I learned last year in school, and that I continue to learn is that the right words are essential. For example, one section of an act stated that the government "must" do something, meaning the government is compelled or required to follow through with this portion of the legislation. Whereas another section of the law stated the government "may" do a specific thing, meaning the government is not required to perform that action. It is especially intriguing to encounter the word "may" in areas of the law where many believe the government is obligated to act.
I want to think I am now more mindful of the words I use daily. It is certainly something I am actively working to improve.
This week was Independence Day for America, and while I was not able to celebrate at the U.S. embassy, I ironically celebrated at the British High Commission by playing trivia (loosely themed around “Independence”) with the other interns I have met. Though we didn't win, we were able to enjoy a great evening out and made new friends.
On Friday, Rezwana and I decided to venture to a few more places in Old Dhaka. We planned to begin at the Bangladesh National Museum, but it opened later than we anticipated. I arrived at the museum before Rezwana; she was stuck in traffic, which is no surprise in Dhaka. While I stood outside of the museum waiting for her to arrive, I received many stares as locals were trying to figure out what I was doing. At one point a man with a little girl approached me and asked if he could take a picture with me and his daughter, I agreed, and then he asked someone else passing by if they could take a picture of all three of us. He asked if I was going to the museum, and he was delighted when I replied that I was.
Rezwana arrived a short time later, and because we still had about 45 minutes until the museum opened, we ventured to a nearby bookstore. I warned Rezwana that taking me into a bookstore is a dangerous activity because I want to see and read all of the books. I love reading, so bookstores are my wonderland. Little did I know she was sneaking pictures of me while we were there!
After a while of wandering around, and of course, purchasing a few books, we headed back to the museum to meet our coworker Joseph. Unfortunately, the museum does not allow pictures taken inside, so I am not able to share any of that with you. However, the museum is expansive. Spanning three floors, it houses artifacts from around the region, and from numerous eras. Joseph and Rezwana took considerable pride in showing me these things and teaching me more about Bangladesh; and as has become the norm when we are out around Old Dhaka, we received a lot of stares and had a small gathering close at all times.
As we walked out of the museum, we stopped to take a few photos; as we were finishing up, a woman grabbed my hand and begin speaking to me in very clear English. She thanked me for coming to her country and asked me what I was doing here, what I thought about the country, and she expressed her genuine joy and gratefulness for my visit to Bangladesh and to the national museum. Rezwana encouraged me to demonstrate my limited Bangla vocabulary, and both the woman and her daughter seemed impressed. The woman asked if I would be willing to take a picture with her teenage daughter, and after she had snapped a few of those, they took a selfie of all three of us. At this point, I am pretty sure there are a LOT of random photos of me on Facebook (including the random selfie with an Uber driver one day who wanted to show his toddler a picture of me).
Our final stop of the day was the 23rd National Art Exhibition. We debated on taking rickshaws, but Joseph said it would take about 30 minutes, but if we took a CNG (tuk-tuk) it would be much faster. Now, I have so far successfully avoided these tiny metal deathtraps because, well, they are tiny metal deathtraps - okay, okay, tiny cars with metal bars on the windows that the driver bolt locks shut. Plus, there is a possibility of explosion since they use compressed natural gas (hence, CNG). *Yay.* Not my vision of safe travel, but, as the kids say "you only live once" so, when in Ro-, um, Dhaka. Thankfully, we arrived without incident at our destination, and we proceeded to the art exhibit.
The exhibit was great! We spent hours roaming through the presentations of paintings, sculptures, and other artistic displays. I have thoroughly enjoyed the art scene in Asia. The art both here in Bangladesh and Vietnam has been so incredible. Though I have captured some of the monuments and sculptures, Dhaka also has some beautiful architecture; I hope to capture and share some of that as well.
Saturdays are most often spent doing laundry, getting groceries, talking to friends and family, reading, and preparing materials for upcoming applications. There is never a shortage of things to do.