10 months in Bangladesh

Latham native one of 17 recipients of Fulbright Fellowship

Ali Horton, back row second from left, joins Hillary Clinton and Fulbright scholars.

Ali Horton, back row second from left, joins Hillary Clinton and Fulbright scholars. Submitted Photo

— So when Horton heard that Bangladesh was one of the countries offered for the new scholarship, she knew she had to apply.

“I thought, ‘Well, that’s a sign. I should go for it,’” she said.

Over the 10 months, Horton will mainly observe, but she still hopes to be able to take part in “some kind of change.”

“I’m trying to keep my expectations in check. I hope to observe and be a part of something,” she said. “I’m not at all an expert getting sent in. I’m a humble observer that has a perspective … only to share it humbly. I’m not going in to say, ‘This is how things should happen.’ Instead, I’m just going to be along for the ride. I think every day will be a learning opportunity for me.”

The biggest challenge for Horton will be dealing with the poverty for a longer time. Unlike her last visit to Bangladesh for four months, or a four-month trip to China to work with slum dwellers, 10 months is a bit closer to permanency.

“I think things will become very challenging. I will be homesick for people, comfort. I want to work in poverty and I want to experience the poverty to a point,” she said. “Eventually, the poverty will get to me. There will be some days when I want to see it all, but then there will be some days when I see the same 4-year-old kid poking through the same pile of trash and I’ll cry. It just will get to me sometimes. But that’s what I’m there to experience. I want to be bothered by it.”

Horton also said she has reservations about “putting her family through this.” She said they’ve been very supportive but she wants to try to make the transition as comfortable for them as possible. She said she will be able to contact them by cellphone when she gets there.

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