Fawzia Alam (Munia apa) and her father
June 2, 2019

“I experienced my family’s many ups and downs throughout my childhood,” Munia apa says. “Through it all Abba always reminded me to be grateful for what we have.”

Munia apa remembers that on the weekends growing up in Bangladesh, she and her brothers would join their father to pick vegetables from their garden. “We had such fun picking ripe tomatoes and digging out carrots. We felt the soil in our hands, unexpectedly learning to appreciate where our food comes from.”

Then they would go to one of the slum areas to distribute the vegetables. “I saw the appreciation in people’s eyes upon receiving our small harvest. And I felt the joy of giving. Abba would say, ‘We don’t have a lot to give to others but we can share what we have. We always have to make the best of what we have.’”

As a young girl Munia apa says she would fantasize about wearing fancy shalwar kameezes that she had seen worn by her favorite actresses. But the latest trends would reach their small seaside town of Khulna months later; other girls would get the newest Eid garments from the city. Instead, her father would take her to a local fabric store and let her choose from the colorful and textured collection of materials. “He would encourage me to draw my own designs, using inspiration from Bollywood starlets, and Amma would stitch the fabrics to bring my designs to life,” Munia apa remembers. “I always had unique and exquisite Eid outfits.”

“Making the best of what I had made me who I am,” Munia apa says, and she hopes she’s instilled the same spirit of resourcefulness, gratitude and giving in her daughters.

Day 22 Wisdom 22: Make the best of what you have.

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