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  • Dhaka’s sky is hazy, dusty, filled with smog. I feel it in my lungs when I run before the streets clog with the day’s traffic. At night, the lights are diffracted by it. The candle-lit lanterns swaying from a rickshaw’s axle cast a blurry orb. This city is one of the fastest growing in the world due to a huge influx of people displaced from the flooding countryside or seeking jobs. Even the sky bears evidence of the density of people below. I sit on the roof sometimes and watch it all race forward around me-- Still in a sea of chaos. There are 2 shifts of construction workers on the apartment buildings around mine. The welding torches lighting up the sky all night long like flickering gasoline stars. Skinny, skinny men carry baskets of bricks into the sky on their heads.

    Yesterday, I watched two women in tattered saris digging a foundation, while a group of children played in the clay. And yesterday, I stared at a picture of a man collecting meat from wealthy families on Eid. The poverty here is intense. I move through the world with a thick skin just to get through the day.

    Every day I wake up happy to be here. Despite what is hard, my sense hasn't been anything but excitement. I don't think of what could have been otherwise. It doesn't even cross my mind. I like living close to so many people. It makes me feel human. It reminds me of my blessings and that is how I want to live.
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