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How Sittong Changed Me

My rural homestay taught me the most about family and happiness. People always say that money cant buy people happiness but I was never fully convinced of the validity of that statement. In Sittong, my home consisted of 2 rooms, 1 outdoor kitchen, and a combined toilet/washroom. My family gave me one of the two rooms to stay in, while my aama, aapa, 2 little brothers, and my younger sister crowded into one room to sleep in.

Instead of dreading their time spent in such close quarters, my family really seemed to love it. I’ve never seen a family that is so close knit and just so happy. They were constantly laughing and joking with each other, and despite a language barrier, I felt totally included in basically everything.

Compared to what people in my community have at home, my family in Sittong would be considered poor. But after spending a week with them, I truly think that they have more happiness in their peaceful and pure village than anyone in my hometown. It was amazing to see how the kids in Sittong were always having fun, despite being isolated from the majority of pop culture. My little brother explained to me that in order to buy newspapers they have to travel across the mountain to get them.

My sister, Sneha, and brother, Ronnie, are growing up in a truly unique environment, where money doesn’t seem to matter. Without meaning to, my homestay family helped me see the simple ways in which I can improve my own life- in regards to my happiness and my bonds with my family.