Shaha Ali

Shaha Ali
Photo location: Sariya kandi, Bogura, Bangladesh

I poured my sweat and blood into building my house. I did it with my own hands. My wife and I worked hard every day so that we could make a home where we dreamed we could see out our daysl. Our children grew up there just like in our dreams. After so many years, one day like a nightmare, the river Jamuna took away our house. We never thought the river could come that close. Now I have only memories and nowhere to live. Isn’t life the most unpredictable thing?

 Everything happened in front of my eyes. We could not save anything except our lives. My wife’s wedding sari, my cherished radio and years of treasured belongings all went to the river. I was stunned that night when the calamity hit us.

That house was everything for me. I was a simple farmer; my life and heart were rooted in that land. But now it is all in the river. Now I have nothing except a plastic shed where seven of us have been trying to make do for the last couple of months. Now even drinking water is a problem because my tube wall[clarify], which cost one year of income from my crops, is also gone in the river. Now we drink the river water. We don’t have a kitchen or toilet. We cook under the open sky.

It will cost more than than  two or three hundred thousand taka to build a new home. When I can’t even collect food for my my family to eat, this much money is now a dream. In order for all of us to eat, my children had to stop going to school and have started working as maids in a villager’s house with their mother. 

Though I know I will not get to return to my house,  every day I come to the riverbank and try to mark the spot where my lost home might be now. 

No one is coming to help people like us. It is getting worse every year. It’s a kind of war which has no value for anyone else other than the people who are fighting it and suffering every day for the rest of their lives.

 Link to ‘Stories from Bangladesh’.