We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
Chris Obermeyer reflects on his S2S experience one month later. His experiences seem to have left a lasting impact on both him as well as on the teachers and students in Bangladesh.
Back Home in Washington, DC
By Chris Obermeyer
It’s hard to believe it’s been a little over three weeks since I arrived back in Washington, DC. There’s not a day that passes that I don’t think of the students and teachers at TCA and the lifelong relationships that I was able to build there. The students and teachers message me each day and I’m delighted to hear that they are continuing to improve their English and teaching abilities. While it would take me the rest of my life to find the right words to describe what I learned there, I can express briefly one thing that surprised me and will stick with me.
When I went to Bangladesh I expected to see a poor country full of unhappy people living in horrible conditions struggling just to get by. While I would consider myself to be someone who doesn’t often make judgments about other people or other cultures this is honestly what everything I read told me I would find. Instead I found a beautiful country full of resilient, compassionate, and welcoming individuals. They enveloped this stranger with their love and impressed me with their focus on each other rather than the things that surround them. Instead of playing on their phones they played games with each other and when the electricity went out they barely even mentioned it, certainly never a complaint.
I’m so thankful that I was able to visit the students and teachers in Bangladesh and can’t wait to have the opportunity to go back. I was happy to hear that the work I did while I was there is continuing, and I hope they are happy that the lessons they taught me will continue to shape the lives of my students and myself here in the US.