The five hour train ride to the countryside of Bangladesh(town of Srimangal) was quite eventful to say the least. The train is probably about 50 years old, fans, no glass left in the windows, only cardboard or metal. A roach crawls across the floor nearby. A beggar with one leg slides across the train bottom asking for change. Men balancing fruit on their head travel from car to car selling goods to travelers. The train stops to let another pass. As I glance out the window, I see a mother and her three children sit outside their home (a mere tent on the side of the tracks) and enjoy a meal of pineapple in the rain. As my journey continues, we travel into town and have a meal before heading to Shanti Bari (the Peace House) being constructed on farmland outside a small village.
There are many villages, farmland, and a rain forest in this particular area. Lawachara is the name of the forest I visited. We pass monkeys, spiders, and some of the most beautiful wildlife I’ve ever seen. The Bengal Tiger used to be prominent here, but it is now endangered. On the journey there, I pull off a leech and toss it before it attaches itself to my skin. It is very hot. The spiders are larger than my hand and although frightful are brilliantly colored. Bamboo is quite beautiful. For the first 5 years, it hardly grows then in the sixth year it can grow up to 25 feet. After an hour walk through the jungle, we arrive at a village within the jungle. In this particular Matriarch Village some of the homes are powered by solar energy. The women run the business while men go out and perform the labor. They also dominate the household. The tradition of this ethnic group is quite different from others in the surrounding area. There is a small school, which serves as a church as well. The walk to high school would be too long, so most children don’t go. This place truly defines remote. Basic needs are met, and life is simple. Beauty can truly be experienced in this place.