Bangladesh

Bangladesh

At the age of 14, Sarah went on a two week holiday to visit her grandparents in Bangladesh and ended up living there for 16 months, experiencing life as a traditional Bengali girl. The roof over her head varied from from five star hotels to traditional huts in semi remote fishing villages. Sarah survived the dangers that came with exploring the country as a young, single woman. Her adventures began when she climbed up hill in platform high heels and a dress! She reached a dense forest with an abandoned house situated at the top, out of tigers’ reach. She was stalked by locals, harassed by men and sometimes, even needed to cover her face, with guards to protect her as she simply walked on the streets. Sarah loved seeing all the weird and wonderful parts of the country, a memorial guarded by monkeys, Sri Mongol – one of the largest tea gardens in the world, crossed narrow bridges built around natural gas and even took part in village lifestyle; cooking in clay ovens, cracking rice in the fields, fruit picking in the wild, embroidering traditional blankets. In the town, Sarah had maids, butlers and drivers who would take care of her and she would take a walk into the slums to visit their homes and families. Sarah was taught by her family to always help those in need and be nice to others. This humanitarian streak stayed with her throughout her life. The tomboy within her was forced to trade trainers for high heels and this is where she was determined to design clothes that she felt more comfortable wearing, not knowing when she would return home and thus prompted her fashion design career. Sarah would visit schools with her cousins to experience what it was like being a student and discovered that the English classes were not taught the way they were back in the UK. However, teachers tried their best to teach a foreign language without access to much resources and training. So, Sarah would offer her knowledge to the children in the rural villages who approached her and introduced creative ways of learning and revising. Sarah would always want to get involved with sports and the men’s work – something she had to prove herself worthy of to the men who had no choice but to accept her in the circle upon realising the Sarah was no ordinary girl. She played football, cricket and introduced a new game to the villagers; arm wrestling – to their surprise, Sarah usually won! Sarah and her family were invited to meet the Prime Minister, Hasina when they took a trip to the capital, Dhaka, where the culture was much more vibrant and modern than any other part of the country. At a young age, Sarah was exposed to events unseen to most people; earthquakes, witnessing spirit possessions and exorcisms, animal sacrifice, brutal punishment of thieves and much more. Her moments of sanity surfaced through exploring new places, learning new things about the culture and being creative. This experience prepared her for future events.