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Visit to Bangladesh

posted Aug 26, 2012, 11:22 PM by Thabit Pulak
I just returned from a 1 month trip to Bangladesh. I had many amazing experiences there, and also a great time meeting friends and family members who lived there. In addition to meeting my relatives, I went to Bangladesh to work on my arsenic remediation project I have been working on for over a year now. I talk about my trip and project more in detail by dates in this post below.

July 28th- Arrival in Dhaka

In the past years  my flight from Dallas to Dhaka would involve many stopovers, often first in New York, then a country in Europe (usually Germany), then a country in the middle east, and then to Bangladesh. This time however, it consisted of one long 16 hour flight from Dallas to Dubai, and then a shorter 5 hour flight to Dhaka. Upon coming near the Dhaka international airport, something interesting occurred. The pilot of the plane apparently was ordered to not land in the area for 30 minutes. The pilot announced over the speaker system "We cannot land the plane as of now, due to a VIP landing right now at the airport. We are sorry for the delay. We will land the plane in about 30 minutes".  While the plane hovered around in circles, we were all wondering what the pilot meant by the "VIP". When we finally landed, about 45 minutes later, I found out what it was all about - Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh's Prime Minister, apparently landed at the airport around the time we were about to land. Due to security reasons, we were put on hold until she left the area. 

Upon landing in the airport, we went through immigration with minimum hassle, and then collected our luggage from the baggage claim. This year, of all the years, we carried the most luggage. One of the reasons why was because one whole box was devoted to my arsenic remediation project. Inside the elongated box was the shell of the arsenic bio-sand filter which I had spent months on developing and testing. It was what I got my International Environmental Sustainability Gold Medal and the EPA National Sustainability award on. This filter would later be filled with locally available sand and gravel, topped off with home-made iron-nano particles, the most important ingredient. This would be the magic ingredient in my filter that removed arsenic from the water, which I managed to bring one bottle of, inside the box. After collecting our luggage, we proceeded off to meet my grandparents and my uncles, whom we met right outside of the baggage claim. After exchanging joyous greetings, hugs, and kisses, we went outside the airport, and slowly packed our bags inside a rented car, and went to our Dhaka apartment, where we planned to stay just for the night, and the following day we would leave for Kushtia, where my grandparent's home was.

July 29th-August 5th - Settling at Home

Those who live in Dhaka often complain how bad of a place Bangladesh is. But that doesn't do any justice, because Dhaka is after all, ranked one of the busiest cities in the world, and top that off with it being in a poor country with overpopulation, it isn't very comfortable. But once going 20 kilometers outside and beyond, Bangladesh is a country filled with immense beauty. Despite the fact that many people live in poverty from their day to day lives, most of them live happy, stress-free lives. After leaving for Dhaka and arriving in Kushtia, I felt immensely relaxed. The country sights, friendly people, fresh air, and nice weather felt quite satisfying. I settled off in my mother's parent's home first, located near the heart of Kushtia's large bazaar, where lots of clothes stores, and fresh fruit are sold. The home was quite untouched, the same as I'd left it 2 years back, when I last came to Bangladesh. I could smell the aromatic scent of the palau rice being cooked in the kitchen. It was a welcoming sight. 

But of course, before I could sit back and relax, I alongside my dad, had to haul our luggage from the auto-rickshaw to the house. While hauling the luggage, I reminisced how difficult it used to be to transport all of our luggage in the past, as traditional rickshaws (powered by humans) could only haul one or two baggages at a time, whilst the auto-rickshaw could easily take all 15 pieces of luggage we had. The auto-rickshaw is a definitely development in Bangladesh transportation, as many people do not own personal cars. The only 3 options for transportation with small vehicles were the tradional rickshaw, the CNG, or the Nosimon. 
The traditional rickshaw is powered by a bicycler, and is capable of hauling 2 fully grown adults (although it is not uncommon to see 4 or even 5 people riding on one). However, the rickshaw is quite slow, usually not faster than 10 mph, or equivalent to a person who's running. And also, given the fact that the rickshaw is human-powered, the distance the rickshaw can travel is very low. The CNG is a small vehicle with 3 wheels that runs on compressed natural gas, hence the abbreviation. It usually has one bench in the back of the vehicle capable of hauling 3 people, with extra leg space, as to fit some luggage. The main advantage of the CNG is that it is much faster than any other smaller vehicles, with a top speed of about 45 mph, which is way more than adequate when traveling in the city. However, CNG's are not as available in areas where natural gas is in low supply or expensive. Kushtia, the place where I settled in, did not have many CNG's due to it's high cost of natural gas. The third mode of transportation is the Nosimon. The Nosimon comes with either 3 or 4 wheels. Both models are powered by a  water-pumping engine (taken straight from the farm where water is brought up to the surface using a pump engine) , which is although primitive, is actually quite powerful. The 3-wheel variants of Nosimons are heavily geared towards carrying passengers. These Nosimons can carry an amazing 15 passengers, despite being much smaller than an average compact car. The 4-wheel variants of the Nosimon are designed more to carry cargo, but the cargo bay is also used to carry passengers at times. These can also carry about 15 passengers. Nosimons are very powerful, and decently fast, being able to go about 40 mph. The carrying capacity and power of the Nosimon seems very good on paper, but it comes at a cost. Due to the primitive nature of the water-pump powered engine, Nosimons are very dangerous. Especially at high speeds, Nosimons are very difficult to control, and often result in crashes that come from inability to brake properly, or inability to stop the engine when desired. Since the Nosimon has no power-steering, the 4-wheel variants are difficult to steer as wheel, posing yet another danger. And finally, the Nosimon also is powered by natural gas, making it unsuitable for areas that are low on supply. 
I believe the auto-rickshaw is a great development in Bangladesh, and holds great potential for future transportation. The auto-rickshaw is completely battery-powered, meaning it will contain the pollution problems in cities in Bangladesh. In addition, the auto-rickshaw is actually bigger than the CNG in terms of passenger capacity, with room for maximum 6 passengers, excluding the driver. The overall ride is very smooth, and the auto-rickshaw is much safer in design than other vehicles. The top speed of the auto-rickshaw is also adequate, at about 30 mph. The range of the auto-rickshaw, although less than a CNG, is still much more than a conventional rickshaw (for obvious reasons), with a range of about 70 miles. The average auto-rickshaw can last a day per charge, fulfilling the travel needs of passengers perfectly. Obviously, the one disadvantage of the auto-rickshaw is that it is putting stress on conventional rickshaw driver's wages, but looking on the positive side, these rickshaw drivers might be encouraged to save money to buy an auto-rickshaw sometime in the future, as the auto-rickshaw is very affordable, at about $1,200 USD , or even less when used.

August 6th- August 11th - Getting connected 

There wasn't much time, as I was only going to stay for one month in Bangladesh. I supposed it was time to get in touch with local authorities concerning my project. My first course of action was to go to the Kushtia Poroshoba, or Kushtia administration building. The Poroshoba is responsible for most public service related tasks, in which water supplies are one of them. Initially, while I was at the US, I contacted Grameen, the first and largest micro-credit institution of the world founded by Nobel Laureate Mohammed Yunus, about support for my project. I did get a response, but not a positive one. They were unable to help due to "peer commitments", which I could only assume meant that there was a conflict of interest of some sort. I also contacted Practical Action, an NGO which does many projects around the world in underprivileged populations. They had previously done some arsenic work in Bangladesh 3 years back. I contacted them, and initially got a response telling me to contact it's Bangladesh division. I contacted them, and then got no response. By then, time was running out fast, I was about to go to Bangladesh, so I was unable to get any kind of help or assistance from Grameen or Practical Action. As a final attempt, I emailed Grameen once more, but received no response. 

At the Poroshoba, I was initially targeting to talk to Anwarul Islam, the head of the Poroshoba. I was able to talk to him 2 years before when I went to Bangladesh, but when I went there, I was told he was out in business at Dhaka. Since I couldn't talk to him, I decided to look for Poroshoba's water department, where I found the head water management engineer, Mohammed Moniruzaman. I was able to sit down with him, and talk about my work with the arsenic bio-sand filter in the US. I told him of my recognitions so far, and the endorsement the EPA gave me for my project. 
I told him of my hopes to implement this project in Bangladesh. After talking to him about my project, he seemed very excited. He ordered 
one of his workers  to make a copy of my project folder which I presented to him. Whilst the copies were being made, he told me he was going to talk to the Bangladesh Health Department about this project. He agreed fully with my project aims, which was to have a fully-open sourced arsenic filter which had no aim for profit whatsoever, which in turn, brings the end product to the user at the lowest possible cost. The filter I had developed was also a lot smaller and much less maintenance. The current filter, the SONO filter was much larger (man size, depicted in the picture), and involved the usage of patented technologies which hindered improvement, and raised costs. Moniruzzaman agreed with these statements also. 
He told me of a SONO filter which they also used right in their office, which is now sitting idle, unused for months now. 
After talking for about an hour, I stood up to leave. I thanked him for his promise to help, and then left his office. I noticed on my way out the SONO filter Moniruzzaman was talking about. It stood in the middle of the common area, dusty, and covered in cobwebs. 

On the 8th of August, my grandfather invited over some influential members of the Bangladesh Parliament. Amongst them was the former chairman of Kushtia (mayor). I took the opportunity to present my arsenic project to them, and my aims and goals of implementation in Bangladesh. After I was done, all of them wholeheartedly endorsed my project.I looked at it, and then wondered, if such a filter couldn't be maintained in the head office of Kushtia, then how possibly could underprivileged village people maintain it? I took a closer look. I opened up the lid and saw the insides of the filter were dismantled. There was a random container of brick chips lying near the top of the second bucket, which should have been deeply embedded within the iron in the bottom of it. The piping for the filter was also misplaced. The filter was unusable at this point, and would probably need to be entirely replaced. I then realized that there was definitely much much more scope for implementing this filter than ever before.
 Gama, the former chairman of Kushtia, was amazed that Bangladesh didn't even know about my project, and heavily suggested the idea of scheduling a press conference to help proliferate the project across Bangladesh. It was a welcome addition of support from such higher up government leaders. 

On the 9th of August, we left for a 3 day trip to Dhaka, where we would meet some of my dad's friends. In Dhaka, I took the opportunity to visit BUET(Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology), the highest ranking university in Bangladesh, and a very top-notch university in Asia. There I met some of my father's professors, and took the opportunity to present my project to them. The first professor was engaged in the field of engineering, so although he was happy about my project, he didn't be able to offer substantial help to my project. He instead directed me to another professor, named Mafizur Rahman. He was the head of the water management department in BUET, I had actually encountered many papers written by him when I was researching a way to be able to rapidly test water for arsenic. He had proposed a recipe which he called "Guava tea" which can be derived from the guava leaf. If the water turned black, there would be arsenic in it if mixed with the Guava tea. However, this procedure was not without fault. The recipe for guava tea was not too simple, and this procedure didn't always work. If there was iron in the water, there was a risk of inaccurate reading. This would not be an ideal way to test  for arsenic. 
I went to Mafizur Rahman, and talked to my project about him. He was very curious about my project, and talked to me about future interests about my project. He said that he would include me as part of his research team in Bangladesh about this arsenic project. Mafizur also talked of getting potential government money grants to be able to further expand on the horizons of the project. My talk with Mafizur Rahman greatly benefited the advance of my project. We exchanged contact details, and planned to talk again later concerning the specifics of the project. 
The scientific advancement of my project would be advanced if I can effectively deal with the professor, and be able to test my arsenic filter, and also work/test on the rapid arsenic testing method that I've developed. 

On the 10th of August, I talked to one of my dad's friends, who worked as a lawyer in the parliament of Bangladesh. I talked to him about my project, and he helped me with the licensing part of my project. He said that he would send the details of my project to the licensing court to trademark my filter in my name. Of course, I made it clear that I would like to distribute the filter under my name as  a trademark, but not charge any royalty fees. I would like to keep the filter technology open source, and that if anyone wanted to use it, the only thing they would have to do is to attribute my work to me. 

Overall, these couple of days in Dhaka served many benefits to my project. The visit to the Poroshoba and talk with the Parliament members helped with the political and social aspects of my project. My connection with Mafizur Rahman helped with the further scientific development of my project. These connections were important, as I cannot just start to work to implement my filter and test my methologies in Bangladesh out of thin air - I'd need help from various people relevant in these areas to move along the process smoothly and effectively. 

On the 11th of August, I again left Dhaka, and headed for Kushtia by bus. 

August 12th-17th - Field Work

While I was in the US, I previously talked with my grandfather about my project. He was very excited and happy about my work, since he lived in Bangladesh. He believe my work was noble, as it directly benefited the poor people in Bangladesh, and he was a very strong advocate of helping the underprivileged. He immediately offered his help in my project. At this point I decided taking help wherever I got it was very necessary. Since my grandfather lived in Bangladesh, he could do many things I couldn't do, such as surveying field sites where arsenic work could be done. My grandfather went up to the Upazilla (sub-district) head and asked for a survey of water sites for arsenic in the area. After doing some analysis, he located a relatively close area called Razapur, that could potentially have a lot of arsenic affected wells. This data was based on some loose tests the Bangladesh government had performed in the years past, since arsenic poisoning is prevalent in many areas. My grandfather visited Razapur, and talked with many village people there. He even met some people with arsenicosis, which is the disease that occurs from prolonged exposure to arsenic at chronic levels. These people  had dark spots on their hands, feets, and chest, and had regular vomiting, stomach pain, and headaches. Soon, this arsenicosis would advance to various cancers of the body, often usually being the stomach, kidney, or liver. It would not be wrong to say that arsenic in drinking water is one of the main causes of cancer in Bangladesh. Finding a way to remediate arsenic would basically mean that is would solve one of the root causes of cancer, which itself is a big thing. 

Now that I was in Bangladesh in Kushtia, it was time to go to Razapur, which my grandfather previously located, and do some surveying of the area, and see the degree of which arsenic was affected there. Razapur was about 20 kilometers away from where I was in Kushtia. 
A rickshaw obviously couldn't haul the 4 of us (Me, my dad, grandpa, and uncle) plus cargo, let alone even travel that distance. We called an auto-rickshaw from the street, and it accommodated us with relative ease. We set off for Razapur, traveling at a speed of about 25 kilometers per hour. Razapur was a rural village town that was located just outside of the city right beside the main highway that runs between Kushtia and Dhaka. It was kind of scary to travel down this road, as large truckers travelling twice as fast were whizzing by on the same road. As we went down the road, we passed by many large industries of Kushtia located just outside of the city. These included BRB Cables, which is in industry which manufactures wires and cables for nearly every electronics possible. After that we passed many smaller village hubs that sold various items for household use. I did see some interesting things though, like places where workers spray painted and decorated Nosimons and auto-rickshaws into bright masterpieces. 
After a 45 minutes drive on the highway, the driver of the auto-rickshaw pulled to the side of the highway, and went down a relatively older dirt road. This road was the pathway to Alampur. After traveling deeper and deeper inside Alampur, we crossed a pathway to Rajapur. By now, our auto-rickshaw was bumping up the road quite slowly, as the conditions of the road were pretty rough, and the shocks weren't built for such bumpy conditions.We slowed to a stop and walked after my grandfather who took us to the home he went earlier. 

We met the owner of the home, and had a short talk with them. 
The owner's name was Sanaullah.He told us that the government came by their well a couple of years earlier, did some tests, and marked their well red, meaning it was contaminated with arsenic. Later, after paying a deposit, a new deep tube well was installed in another area around their house. This well was also tested to see if there was arsenic content. However, no one ever came back to give the report on whether or not there was arsenic in their well. Upon this, Sanaullah decided that the water was safe to drink. 

Amongst the things I brought with me was an arsenic test kit, complete with the chemicals that are used in actual arsenic tests. I bought the kit back in the US for about $150. This kit, although expensive, was the only thing that could be currently used to test for arsenic. I decided to test both of the wells of Sanaullah, both the new and the old wells, to see the amount of arsenic content they had. I took water from the old well, and did an arsenic test on it using the kit. After 20 minutes, the results came out at an astounding 450 ppb(parts per billion) of arsenic. This is well above the threshold of 50 ppb deemed allowable by the Bangladesh government. I also noted that the water from the well had huge amounts of iron content. This completely disproves the myth that having iron in water means that there is no arsenic. In rural villages, that is often the guideline people follow to determine whether arsenic is there or not. However, the truth is, only when water is brought to the surface, and oxidized, the iron and arsenic together co-precipitate to the bottom of the water. Then the top part of the water is relatively free from arsenic and iron. However, the arsenic co-precipitates only when the water sits still for at least one hour, and only if there is sufficient quantity of iron in the water. These misunderstandings that happen only make the problem of arsenic poisoning even worse. These people need not only a filter, but also a way to rapidly, and cheaply test for arsenic. It doesn't matter whether there is 30 ppb or 300 ppb. They just need to know whether the water has arsenic that is above what is safe, or whether it is safe. Since I was in the US, I already knew this was a problem. 
Now that I have developed an arsenic filter, it was time that I test a way to ensure there is a method for the people to follow that cheaply detects arsenic in water. After all, what use is a filter that gets rid of arsenic if there is no way to detect the arsenic in the first place. 

Afterwards, I tested a couple of other wells around Sanaullah's home. All of the wells I tested had arsenic concentrations 200 ppb and above. Sanaullah's old well tested 450 ppb arsenic, and the new well, installed by the government still showed a reading of 200 ppb. After talking to the Sanaullah family for a little bit afterwards, we found out they had a daughter, who was educated, and attended Kushtia college regularly in the city. We then realized that she could be the perfect candidate for carrying out various arsenic tests in the village area when I leave. Her name was Sumayyah, and she was nearly finishing college. By that time, it was getting late, so we left the village with the auto-rickshaw, and drove back to Kushtia. 

The next morning in Kushtia, I analyzed the outcomes of the arsenic tests on the wells. I looked at the wells of Sanaullah in particular, and noted that the two wells on the properties, both old and new, were tainted with high levels of arsenic at different concentrations. Since I had different concentrations of arsenic wells labeled in my hands, I decided it was now time to test my experimental way of detecting high or low levels of arsenic. My method involved using a multimeter, which would detect resistance changes in a paper strip with iron nano particles before and after dipping in water that contains arsenic. If the water contains arsenic, the arsenic will adsorb onto the nanoparticles on the strip, which will result in a resistance change in the meter. On previous research, I hypothesized that the changes in multimeter reading would bring forth a way to see whether arsenic concentrations are high or low. We bought a multimeter from a local market in Kushtia after lots of searching. We bought a Sanwa YR-350 LB from a store for 270 taka, meaning about $3 dollars. We made some paper strips, which at that time, were just made out of tissue paper. Our goal was to wet the tissue paper with arsenic water, and take a resistance reading, and then wet the tissue paper with nano particles, and then dip it in arsenic water, and take a reading. We would then note down any changes in resistance. I noticed a pattern in all of the strips in arsenic affected wells, which was that the resistance in the nano+arsenic paper was the one that was lower than the resistance of a plain arsenic paper. I compared this against my home water, which had no arsenic, and saw that the nano+arsenic was higher than the resistance of the plain arsenic water. Based on just these observations, it wouldn't be proper to make a complete statement, but it was already starting to show a correlation that arsenic water would bring nano+arsenic strip to have a lower rating than just arsenic, whereas normal water would either bring an equal or higher reading. 

Despite the results, one thing that I was noting during observations was the rather difficulty to measure the exact resistance of the water. My particular meter was a 1M meter, meaning it could measure resistance up to 1 million. If I had a 2 M meter, I would have a more accurate scale to see water strip resistance in. Keeping this in mind, I decided to go to the market again, and get a 2M meter. My dad had a really good understanding of the area, so together, we looked across many electronics stores, and finally found one that carried 2 of these meters. We bought the both of them, and tested them when we went back home. I noticed it was a lot easier to read the resistance readings off of these meters. I decided to go to Rajapur once again and bring forth the same readings from the same wells with this new multimeter. My readings were nearly consistent, in terms of resistance increases and decreases. However, since my readings were easily more precise, on paper, previous and present readings appeared to be different. Since I had 2 multimeters, I took that time to train Sumayyah on how to work the multimeter. We decided that if she can carry out the multimeter readings across at least 100 wells in the village, then we can have enough readings to be able to draw a regression line to make a definite relation between the resistance changes between arsenic in the water. Sumayyah seemed to understand, and she carried out some tests in front of us. We were happy that she understood. We took her contact details, and made arrangements for her to come over to my grandparent's home in Kushtia bi-weekly to submit her data resistance readings.

 We told her that she was now a "Kormi", or worker, part of "iKormi", the non-profit organization that we found with three major branches :
internet, arsenic remediation, and education. Sumayyah would be a Kormi in the arsenic remediation segment. Soon, as iKormi grows, we will put forth a self-funding infrastructure within that will allow it to be a true company, and benefit more and more underprivileged people. We invited her to our house on the 19th of August, to share her data with us for one last time. We would then analyze it, check it, and make sure all her questions would be answered. 
Heading back home for the 3rd time, I now put my attention towards the internet iKormi branch. This was actually the first initial branch of iKormi that I started with my dad nearly 2 years ago. A large marketplace, called Amazon Mechanical Turk, is an online website which consists of small jobs related to data entry and internet classification. The jobs are small, and consistent, and the wages are decently good if the jobs are done 
accurately. However, these jobs are easy for those who reside in the US, but difficult for those residing in Bangladesh. The proper way for the successful implementation of completing these jobs would be to put forth a proper management and training structure. Thus, this night I sat with 5 people, consisting of 4 of my uncles, and 1 aunt. One of the uncles had extensive internet experience, and had little to no trouble understanding the work. The rest of the uncles, although lowly experienced, were eager to learn. I sat with them for about 4 hours, and completed about 300 taka worth of work. 
I then made sure that the most experienced uncle would train the others, and will be rewarded accordingly when the jobs came in. I took contact details of everyone, and promised to keep in touch. 

After all, I would be leaving Bangladesh in 4 days, on the 22nd. 

August 18th- 26th - Wrap-up testing and training

Eid, the end to the holy month of Ramadan was fast approaching. It was only a mere days away. 
I needed to go to Rajapur for one last time, in order to affirm the operation of the multimeter Sumayyah was using, and to attempt to set up a basic bio-sand filter set-up with basic arsenic removal capacity with brick-chips. I wasn't able to add nano-particles to it, due to our limited supply. 

I needed to go to Rajapur for one more time. I intended to ship nano particles to Bangladesh after I went to the US. Before going to Rajapur, Eid happened on August 20th. It was a great time of celebration, festivities, and so on. After Eid 
however, I continued on with the final bits of my project data collection in Bangladesh. 

Going to Rajapur for the final time, I did some final tests with my multimeter 

and collected data readings. Me and Sumayyah both took readings together and compared to see whether they were consistent. They were consistent. However, during set up the bio-sand filter broke from the bottom after dropping it by accident. 
Since it was nearly time for us to leave, we left the filter with my uncles to repair at a local store, and gave them instructions on how to fill the filter with simple materials, like sand, and gravel. (Today, as of August 26th, the bio-sand filter is up and running, and Kormi's are doing water tests on it). We left Rajapur, making sure that Sumayyah had the right materials to carry on the tests we did while we were there. 

In order to further gather more data, we got a few more interested Kormis, such as Benjir Ahmead, Muddashir Kanak, Alauddin, and few more from the city and villages. Two additional sets of multimeter test kits were given to these Kormis in two  groups to be able to collect more test data from different locations from the Kushtia city and Chouadanga. 

I then sat with the internet Kormis for one last time on the 22nd August night. I sat with them for about 2 hours, going over the work we have already done, affirming contacts, and making arrangements to continue working after I leave Bangladesh. I was very confident that the internet Kormi branch will run very smoothly if everyone worked together. 

On the 23rd of August, I left Kushtia. It was a tearful goodbye to leave all the Kormi's, but we promised to keep in touch through previously  established internet email and skype. The bus ride home was a sad, long ride. My grandparents and one uncle came with us on the bus to say goodbye to us at the airport. But at the same time, I felt good that I was able to at least start on something 
in Bangladesh.

On the 24th of August morning was my flight to Dubai, from which I would then go to the United States. We packed all our things into the rented car, and drove the slow, long route to the Dhaka international airport. When we got inside the airport, things happened very quickly. Our luggage was carted away and we were left with only each other for a short amount of time. Our flight was to leave at 10:30, and it was already 8:30. There was a mere 2 hours left, yet immigration and passenger check-in was still needed to be done. We had a tearful, but brief goodbye. As we left our grandparents, I kept looking back, seeing their shape growing smaller and smaller as I left. At the security check-in, I could still see their outlines, waving to us goodbye. After the check-in, the pathway took a right turn. At that turn was when I couldn't see their faces anymore. 

On the plane back to the US, I was feeling very mellow, but at the same time, I knew time was not something to lose. School was going to start on the 27th, and it was already the 24th. By the time I arrive in America it would be the 25th. I knew that I'd have to begin preparations to attend school. And I knew that going to the US didn't mean Bangladesh was over. It was only the start of a long, but interesting journey to bring forth iKormi into the spotlight, the non-profit organization that hopefully can change the way many underprivileged people earn a living, live safely, and get a good education.