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LFE in IUB..

Nazwa Warda Bintay Salim LFE (Live -in- Field) experience is a four credit course in IUB, quite unique and distinct with its situational approach intended to amalgamate and integrate its students with the typical rural and village life in Bangladesh. The 4 credit course usually involves: trip to RDA (Rural Development Academy), Comilla BARD, Srimangal, Manikganz where students have to develop relations being in close proximity, with the rural people, identify their key strengths and weaknesses in various aspects of their life, analyse and criticise social obstacles, developments infrastructure ,women empowerments, medical facilities health-related hazards, etc. and many more sectors. The total program normally extends from 10-12 days. This is a very different, new and refreshing experience for both the boys and the girls, as they venture out for the first time, away from home without parents in a totally different place with a different mood, with challenging situations to be resolved all by themselves. We, as a group consisted of 5 students: 3 girls and 2 boys, each of us with different topics on which we had to collect data, fill-up questionnaires, analyse them, interpret and lastly present them in the evening at RDA Auditorium/Conference Room. Each day one presenter from each group would present the collected data in various forms with his/her own perceptions, observations and personal experience through: slides in OHP, statistical reports, diagrams, labelled charts etc. There also used to be questions thrown up from each of the other groups and they were judged by both the IUB faculties and also RDA officials. It used to be a very spontaneous session sometimes followed by occassional jokes,laughter session of sharing of thrilling experience of individual students during data collection, and sometimes students were also gifted with surprise birthday wishes and delicious birthday cakes! The presentation would normally start after we used to come back from the village in the rainy hours, with our hearts, mind and soul drenched with the melodies of the pitter-patter of rain drops with everyone exhausted from the whole days hard exertion. Then the hurricane of report making used to start; chart-papers, color pencils, markers, pen/pencils, erasers scattered around the floor and table of the conference room. Sometimes a singing voice within the humming crows will inject few drops of refreshments, and then there is the usual competition of who can write up the evenings best speech for briefing! Of course our instructor and the RDA officials were just too great in providing us with the tiny tit/bit of information. I still clearly can picturize, my friend Mow, was appointed the duty of drawing the village map and at the end of the day right before the presentation is about to start within an hous, she comes to me sobbing with red swollen nose and tearful eyes, saying in a trembling voice: June I just cant draw that nicely! What a shock was it for me! But I just laughed at her and drew the map of Maria village for my friend and it eventually turned out to be the finest amongst all! Each day was very colorful and distinctly unique in the sense that we used to enjoy amongst ourselves a lot taking in all the beautiful elements from nature. I often used to run with the baby

goats and calves in the field or take snaps with my friends in the beautiful mustard field, or chip in for a shot with the half-naked, bare footed village children. As each student within the group were assigned 5 different topics: Village Mapping, Social Changes, Marketing, Economy, Health and Environment, so altogether we were able to generate a huge amount of information / data in the prescribed area. Sometimes, however we also faced serious obstacles, in gathering the required data and creating the report due to fear amongst people for such an abrupt inquisition in their ordinary daily routine-work. But mostly we were quite amazed and thrilled with the hospitality and the warm welcome received when we used to visit their house. Such simple and ordinary are they in their hearts and souls with so little belongings, possessions, needs and demands yet they do not lack the slightest shine of happiness from their smile and eyes. My husband always utters this word: Special to be ordinary. Indeed it is, I must say! We even became so attached and bonded so warmly with them that they forcefully sometimes used to make us have lunch with them. I still clearly remember a family who gave us a whole bunch of raw mangoes to take away while we were leaving RDA and they took our cell-phone number, promising us to call back. They even rolled in crying while we were finally leaving Bogra. It was also a chance for us: IUB Ctg Campus to work as a team with Dhaka IUB students, and share everything that we learned and experienced. We also made quite a good number of friends during our 10 days tenure in Bogra. Just before the day that we were leaving RDA, it happened to be our cultural night with all the students performing on various events like: dancing, singing, drama, fashion-shows, poetry recitation etc. It was followed by a sumptuous barbeque, Mughlai Cuisine and a farewell speech from RDA and IUB officials. Every night right after the presentation is complete there used to be the rehearsal for cultural shows and it would end late at night. Then the girls used to come back to the girls hostel walking a mile and boys getting back to their individual room with eyes falling heaving with tiredness and exhaustion. There happens to be a one day rest period usually either before or after the cultural show. That day is completely the day with the total freedom of choice. That day we were completely on our own and we spent it totally in our own ways, but being within the RDA perimeter. I still remember we took snaps in the green grapevine yard, went off to see Aishwariya a cow in RDA which gives 35 liters of milk every day. I cycled along the curved laneways, walked and spent time on singing, laughing, cracking jokes in the beautiful garden, encircled in green carpets with daisies blinking here and there. It was a dreamy world for all of us; and the food of RDA is simply unforgettable! And the sweets are awesome and special there. Our parents were astonished to see that instead of losing weight rather we gained some extra pounds. I think those ten days were the best and most memorable days in my life with cheerful memories and a glorious, unique learning experience at the root-level.