It was my first trip to Bangladesh with Clowns Without Borders Sweden. I was a little nervous, curious, excited and happy to go there with three other artists that I had never met before. But I had a gut feeling that this trip was going to be special and that in the end of the tour I would have three new friends and that I would feel much richer than I did before the tour.
I remember the day when I got the call that I would be going to Bangladesh. Before leaving I wanted more information about the crisis and read more about the Rohingya people and everything that has happened to them. It was difficult and heart breaking to realize how the past years for these people have been. I remember a first phone call with my tour leader Jonas telling me: ‘All of the people we are going to meet have seen their families murdered or raped in front of their eyes. Every single person at the camps have seen something that nobody should have ever seen. They are traumatized.’
With this background I arrived in Bangladesh the 20th of November 2018 and I will never forget my first day at the camp. Waking up at 6.30, fast breakfast and then heading to the camps. 2 hours of driving in a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride but made it all safe through crazy traffic of Bangladesh and saw the camps. It seemed like endless city with thousands of shelters. Lots of people walking around, kids running around. I felt overwhelmed: where to even start, how can I give enough to these people? You want to give at least something to everybody because you know what they have gone through is not human in any ways. You want to give a little bit of your time to every face you see, a hand shake to every single adult and child that you pass by. But that’s not possible so you have to start somewhere and hope that it will be enough. It was an emotional day full of tears, sadness, laughter and happy meetings. The day felt like a week to me. When we walked through the camps the children ran out from the shelter screaming: ‘Hello-how-are-yoooouuu-thank-yooooou-welcome-byebyeeee!’. The most remarkable moment for me was to realize how much love these people were willing to give to us, to some weird looking strangers who they have never seen before and had no idea of our intension. And yet, they came to say hello, welcoming us to their new home with nothing but love, joy and curiosity.
I became friends with a little girl from the camp. I met her when we were walking from the car to the child friendly spaces. She came out from one of the shelters and wanted to know my name. The next day she was there again, waiting to see me again. This time she walked with me all the way through the camp. A week alter we returned to this same camp and I got the meet her again. After our performance she stayed with us for some time and I had beautiful conversations with her, of course without a common language but it was not necessary to have words to be able to talk. There were many other children also who wanted to do some acrobatics that they had seen in the show. I asked my little friend if she also wanted to but she refused, she was shy. I saw her again next day from that. She came running towards me and told me how she would now want to do some acrobatics. Before leaving the camp for the last time she asked me when I am coming back. The only thing I could really promise her was that I hope I come back very soon.
Since day one I realized that I am in the right place. This is what I am supposed to do and what I want to continue doing. If these people, after everything they have experienced, are so open minded towards us, I want to give that back. I want to give my love and my time. I want to come back to meet these people again, hear more of their stories, see the babies that our students were expecting, hear how the labor went and hear the new words the children have learned in English. I want to show them that to me they are worth of everything, they are worth coming back for.