First, a quick intro to this work of art by the wicked-smart Steven Torrisi of Red Hook, New York:
There were so many experiences, so many individual moments on this trip that would be impossible to put into words. Steve managed to create several lines of rhyme about it, a feat that would exhaust me. With the help of others, though, we can better tell stories and communicate with people. That's why I figured I would share the witty and heartwarming words of Steven, who shared this poem and made everyone laugh and cry on the last day:
Let me tell you of Bangladesh
Of lemon tea and curry fresh
Of 60 kids who gelled and meshed
Who crossed their fingers back in May
Who were called back and paved the way 5
Who got an email in July
And flew to Dhaka wond’ring “Why?”
Now we stand here, on the last
Of 30 days which came to pass
Come here, all ye, and listen well 10
I carry a cache of stories to tell.
When we converged in Washington
I knew the fun had just begun
With minnows, sharks, and art displays
It truly feels like yesterday. 15
We spent two days aboard 3 flights
In one bizarre Arab’ian night
And when United botched our bags
We spent 3 full days wearing rags
At 3’oclock we had first dates 20
With our B’deshi, new housemates
I think that you found no one finer
Than your Bangladeshi driver
With river crossings, shoes and more
Icebreakers and group games galore 25
Came to dominate those days.
But we learned lots in other ways
I don’t think I will forget when
After Medeha and her friends
We heard of houses of semen(t) 30
The only Bangla we all had
Was asalaam and Dhonobad
We all fawned over sickly pups
But mostly everyone threw up.
The week concluded when we had 35
Parties, saris, and punjabs
Which we all know now leads us on
To new years and the sundarbans.
Come Christmas day we ate our food
At the rustic hotel sun and moon 40
On Khulna bridge, a grand sunset
At castle salaam we would get
French fries and free mango juice
Santa claus, talks on the roof.
The food was good, and sadly yet 45
MY appetite and the sheets were whet.
The next day we got on the ship
The next step of our climate trip.
I like to think of all those days
Stretched on deck, to sunbathe 50
Watching passing trees and waves.
Then we had that that acted skit
Which can all agree was…. Controversial.
Holding hands beneath the stars
I made those oranges go far 55
Dropping anchor, dolphins danced
Emille showed us their recent past
Trudging slowly through the mud
Tiger-watching was a dud
And let us be honest- what can you teach 60
When you let thirty teenagers loose on a beach?
What insights did that mock UN summit reach?
But then that all ended, and we soon got home
And spent a day off leaving climate alone
That weekend was great solely for the fact 65
That that was the time when we got Shelby back!
We drove right on out to the place at Savar
To the best new years ever, the greatest by far!
We got back to Dhaka, but we weren’t free
For we stared down the barrel of our SLPs. 70
This part of the poem may be somewhat hard
There were four SLPs- my one was the char
But I know for a fact that everyone grew
That week pushed the boundaries of what we all knew.
The people at Khula studied water in salt 75
A problem which science is trying to halt
The folks down at Jaago could chill with Rakshand
Then produce a film and form some strong bonds
I heard at the Bazaar the weather was fair
But after the beach you guys took on the mayor 80
I can speak the most for my time at the Chars
We lived in tin huts and saw more boats than cars
The seventh was fun when we got to share
Emotions were high, good ‘tude everywhere
We all made connections and found better friends 85
But sadly the program sped on to the end.
This last week was simply chock full of events
There were plenty of sights that we hadn’t seen yet
Monday both saw a brand new business model
And a talk from the Yunus who urged us: Don’t dwadle! 90
And forgive me if you think this outlook is bleaker
But Yunus is more of a genius than speaker
But that day left all of us feeling empowered!
The seeds of our projects had sprouted and flowered
In the countryside we saw the effects 95
Firsthand of Grameen Shakti projects
I know that I was very impressed to see
A gas burner powered by birds poop and pee
Yesterday was bittersweet
But our guest speakers were a treat 100
The rhyme scheme here is fairly rigid,
But Bridges Bridges Bridges Bridges.
As our month-long adventure now draws to an end
Look all around at your newfound friends
Whether from Bangladesh or the US of A 105
National boundaries have vanished today
I think that I know y’all so well
For every last one there is something to tell
Beginning with my native New Yorker Crew
I’ve never met anyone more honest and true 110
Than Aury Hernandez! Hats off to you.
Judy is sweet and for hours we talk
Amirah’s mind drips leave a whole crowd in shock
Tania is friendly but also tenacious
Her research last summer was simply broadacious 115
I’ve never met anyone nicer than Fil
And Jalen’s ballet was a genuine thrill
Teresa and Kenzie have wonderful eyes
Mai Kou’s lovely singing was a great surprise
Ed played a mean businessman on that boat 120
Maddy, I want you to frame me your quote
Someday I’ll pronounce Leia, no Leahs! Name right
A “Hi” from Amanda sets everything right
Shoutout to my homeboy from the west coast
The main man from Oakland who wins and then boasts 125
Devin’s my pal, I am proud to say
He’s also real lucky to have Chardonnay
I remember Alisa for reading the Stand
And Pajnucci in cards- Man, what a fast hand!
And speaking quite briefly on her behalf 130
Pajnucci and I look the same when we laugh.
I thought at first Sartu was just meek and quiet
But it turned out that she was an absolute riot
Mumjata and Paul have firey hearts
Caitlyn’s Cambodian and German in parts 135
I’m excited for Kelsey, she’s going to Mac
And we all cheered hooray when Shelby came back.
Conversing with Kerry about classic old books
Anna, that cutie, steps out and gets cooked
Megumi gave me that nice free hug coupon 140
Natascha, I’m sorry, I wasn’t well drawn
Sophie is sophie-sticated, yes, it’s true
I’m sorry for abusing that pun about you
And of course, where to start, I can only say damn
I’m endlessly grateful that I have met Sam. 145
I ran out of time for the B’deshi crew
But I am truly glad to have known all of you.
But I’d like to make room for a kid who I know
A guy who I am saddened to finally let go
Everyone, let’s hear it for Dhruba! 150
It’s over now, folks. No longer we roam
Let’s pack up our bags, it’s time to go home! 152