Yu Yu Myint Than


Dhaka in Bangladesh is one of the most populated cities in the world. It’s easy to lose one’s own rhythm of life in a fast-paced city like this. Dhaka’s people are warm and welcoming, however, during my 6-month stay in 2018, I never felt quite a part of the community; I remained as a guest. Coming from a different cultural background, the feeling of not being able to connect with the city and community-led me to feel a sense of isolation and cultural confusion.

I subconsciously began to look for people who found themselves in a similar situation. One day, I met a group of Somalia students at the immigration office, while dealing with my never-ending visa extension process. Quickly we became friends and I was invited to their homes to try my first Somalia dish “Anjero”, a traditional pancake with some curry. Our Shared experience of living in Dhaka, of being there but not quite belonging, made us become close.

The Somalia youth community living in Dhaka as international students face challenges of isolation, cultural confusion and even discrimination. So they created their own circle of closeness, youthful bonding and intimacy to live comfortably in this city.

There are, of course, times when this circle bursts and they are reminded of feelings of otherness and loneliness in their temporary home.

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  • Osman posts for the portrait at his aparment, in Dhamondi, Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 5th of April 2018.

  • Dhaka, Bangladesh,2018

  • Hanni cries on the farewell party of her Somalian fried in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 9th of April 2018.

  • Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2018

  • Somalian youths are seen at the elevator of their apartment, Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 13th April 2018.

  • Abdi is seen at the farewell party of his Somalian friend Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 9th April 2018.

  • Asia (changed name) in her room in Pathapath, Dhaka, Bangaldesh,2018.
    She said “ “I miss my mother do my braids on my hair”

  • Abdullah posts for the portrait at the rooftop of his apartment in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 19th April, 2018.

  • Window from Abdhula apartment, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2018.

  • Hodan decorates herself before she goes to the graduation ceremony of her senior student from her community on 4th of April 2018.
    Honda said, “ I miss my Ayeeyo (grandma) and I miss the beach at Mogadishu”

  • Dhaka, Bangaldesh, 2018

  • Somalian students enjoy their time at Dhamondi lake after their evening class, in Dhaka Bangladesh on 23rd April 2018.

  • Panthapath, Dhaka, Bangaldesh, 2018

  • “I miss the red dust from Somalia”
    (Quotes Collected from the Somalian students.)
    Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2018