Bangladesh Exchange Alumni Reunite in California
World Savvy Admin
May 18th 2012
Reflection from Filip Kostanecki, AYLP Student Leader
From a boat in Bangladesh to standing in San Francisco, World Savvy has taken us on the journey of a lifetime through the American Youth Leadership Program. After spending a month together traveling halfway around the world, to say it was difficult to separate upon our arrivals back in the U.S. would be an understatement. We had become a family. Upon seeing each other in California again I was reminded of everything we had gone through. The realities of traveling through slums, chars, overcrowded Dhaka streets, experiencing traveler’s diarrhea, moonlit rooftops, new cuisines, meeting our incredible Bangladeshi counterparts; only the people in our group understood that. So when we met again it seemed as if our unspoken experiences allowed us to once again open up that side of ourselves. We were free to casually integrate climate change, social action projects and environmental activism into our conversations. Every second felt well spent, as seeing each other helped us realize the potential each of us had. As our friend Sam said, we had the ability to be more than a drop in the bucket but rather to become a spark for the fire of change. The picture above shows us as we are: Students and educators that are connected via string. But for us the string is more. It’s the fact that we’re a diverse representation of cultures, religions, languages, socio-economic groups, tastes, fashions, interests and accomplishments. Yet all our differences helped create this incredible family, one that’s united in making a difference in recognizing the realities of climate change. World Savvy gave us the stories, the opportunities, the facts, the pictures and the experiences. As we snipped this string web, we realized that those memories would not fade and we would remember them every time we’d look at our string bracelets. But even more than that, we’d remember that as students we are there for each other to stand together in making a difference, each in our own way, using our own unique ideas and talents. I walked away from that moment hoping that when our group meets in 10 years time, it’ll be to talk of even greater hope. How new social businesses are helping the people of Bangladesh thrive. How there is now affordable LEED-certified housing all throughout California and the U.S. Discussing how urban farming, volunteer-run farms and organic co-ops have come together to stop destructive agricultural practices. Excited about the people we’ve met who have their own string webs of connections. Proud of the actions we’ve taken and others we’ve inspired. Hopeful because we’ve met other incredible educators like those on our trip that are working hard to educate students about the realities of this world. All 30 of us determined…knowing you only live once…and that with our scarce time we’ll do what it takes to make a difference, together.