Photo location: Shamnagar, Sathkhira, Bangladesh
I was a hawker of girls cosmetics in our village and married a beautiful happy girl who I fell in love with the first day I saw her. Twenty years before we were married she used to be one of my regular customers. She fell in love with me unconditionally and married me after dealing with a lot of problems with her family.
I am a poor hawker man, who loves his wife and daughter with his full heart, but as people say, this doesn’t fill your stomach. It is very hard for me to see innumerable pins on my daughter’s slippers and holes upon holes in my wife’s sari. I feel hopeless as a failure when I can’t feed them three times a day, when I can’t manage school fees for my daughter and when I can’t buy new clothes for my family for the Eid festival. I couldn’t do anything for my family. But they never complained about anything because poor people get used to it, they know — no one can cope with the power of nature.
For the last six months we have been really worried about what will happen if we will lose our house and land again. Where we will live? How we will continue to survive? We already lost everything four times in the river due to river erosion. We continued to buy land beside the river because it is cheaper.
This last time I was collecting money to buy land in order to make our home away from this village as we knew that the river would again sweep away everything we have and will show her unkindness.
But nature is more clever and has bigger plans than we poor people. Last week she took everything we had away again. This time it was so rapid and much crueler than before. I could not save anything, not even the money I was saving for my girl’s marriage, nor the money for buying the land on which we were planning to build our home. I could not save my hawkers box which I have been carrying with me for 25 years; nor could I save my only fulcrum. We lost our crops, our cattle… everything.
The night the flood hit one part of our village completely collapsed and was submerged in the river in front of our eyes . Before we understood what was happening, everything went under water. No one could save anything without losing their lives. We could just save our lives by running far away, holding hands with our family members.
I don’t know how I have sinned that I am getting punished like this year after year. I don’t know where I will go with my young girl after being released from here. For the last two weeks we have been living here because of my wife’s sickness. My wife’s condition is getting worse day by day. I am a beggar now. And as a beggar, I am begging to my god to please not take my wife away from me. I just don’t want to lose her.
Link to ‘Stories from Bangladesh’.