It’s fall now in Virginia. You realize how many trees there really are in the yard when the leaves start to fall. Anyways, I was thinking about all the brush and leaves we had in our yard, and how my Dad is going to put in a wood stove, and I said to Dad that all that stuff would make a big fire. Thankfully he didn’t hear me. And the next second I remembered what country I was in: America: where people usually put logs in their wood stove, not brush, and certainly not piles of fall leaves. In Bangladesh, most people who live outside the capital cook every day with leaves, brush, jute sticks, and dried cow dung. When I was outside raking leaves, I couldn’t help but think of Khala, the lady who we lived with for two months out in the village, how every day she would get a big basket and disappear for an hour to collect bits of wood and leaves for the fire. Wouldn’t she like my big pile of leaves.

These pictures are from our village stay. That’s Khala’s pile of leaves for the day. She’d stir the pot with one hand and shovel in leaves and brush with the other hand.