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This Summer I Rode Trains

November 15, 2009

by Alex Mitchell
This Summer I Rode Trains

The Forum would like to take this opportunity to offer you a break from the usual discussion of Ath speakers, partying, and midterms to give you a glimpse of one CMCer's unique summer experience. A short interview with Miles T. Bird:

Alex: So you were in Bangladesh this summer. What were you doing?

Miles: I interned with Grameen Bank, a microfinance organization. There were a fair amount of other foreign interns in Dhaka and I spent a lot of time traveling Bangladesh’s surrounding area with them.

Alex: Sounds fun, tell me a little about the kids you met in this clip we’re about to watch.

Miles: These kids are literally out of the movie Slumdog Millionaire. There were ten of them, presumably orphans, and they all took care of one another like a family. There was one slightly older one who took a mother role, shepherding them around and passing out some bananas we gave them. All the kids were super dirty and scratched up, some with unhealed broken bones. They were incredibly nice kids though. For example, they offered me their bundle of newspapers to sit on – one of their only possessions besides the clothing on their backs and a bag of empty bottles.

Alex: How did they convince you to get on the train?

Miles: They didn’t really convince us, they were actually really surprised we followed them up. They are “untouchables,” which means they aren’t respected and discriminated against in Bangladesh.

Alex: So you just climbed up to the top of a moving train?

Miles: Yeah man, as the train left the station we climbed out of the window and pulled ourselves up. The kids rushed over to help pull us up, which was pretty cute.

Alex: Damn, how fast was your heart beating?

Miles: Fast. The train ride was one of the most thrilling moments of my life. The train was moving about 60 miles an hour and these kids were doing cartwheels and jumping from car to car.

Alex: Crazy, how long were you up there?

Miles: About an hour and a half. We napped for a little bit.

Alex: What did you do when the train came to a stop?

Miles: (Laughing) Several hundred people flooded the station and everyone was yelling in rapid-fire Bengali. When we got down, we were hustled into the conductor's room. There were a handful of police screaming at us and we just apologized profusely until they let us leave.

Alex: Word. Video time?

Miles: Yeah.

So this is what Miles did last summer – sorry you can’t be as cool.

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