Graham Fink is a guitarist, singer and songwriter in the Los Angeles-based indie-rock band Milo Greene. This fall he visited Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, to witness the Rohingya humanitarian and refugee crisis that's being described as ethnic cleansing. Here, he shares his experience and some of the Rohingya's very troubling and moving stories that were shared with him.
I've never been to a developing country. The last half of my life has been spent touring in rock bands and making records, most recently with my band Milo Greene. It feels like I've traveled the world for a decade, but most of that time has been spent in vans or green rooms - dingy motels or highway rest stops. Aside from the hour you get to spend onstage each night, tour can be fairly isolating from the outside world. I've tried to do some good, working at a camp for homeless youth, collecting unused band merchandise and donating it to shelters, and lately organizing political community action meetings and fundraisers, but it's always been safe and easy. It's always been close to home.
Earlier this year a friend of mine who works with the non-profit Every Mother Counts, which supports global maternal health initiatives, began telling me about The Hope Foundation and their collaborative efforts to address the current Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Myanmar -- formerly known as Burma -- and the almost 1 million refugees in Bangladesh. Through her, an opportunity arose to assist renowned photojournalist Josh Estey while he documented the healthcare being provided in the refugee camps and I jumped at it. Milo Greene had finished recording our new album and didn't have any touring plans at the time, so I bought some mud boots and booked a flight, hoping I might help raise awareness and learn something by diving in.