The genesis of Shailan: Portrait of a Village was our desire to tell a story through pictures of village life, a life shared by nearly 85 percent of Bangladeshis. For Bangladeshi nationals, we hope this book will become a treasured portrayal of this nation's beauty and grace, its villages, and the people who live there. For expatriates, whether long-time residents of Bangladesh or transient visitors, we hope this book will be a glimpse into village life-a life that is easy to miss as we careen along the highways or bustle about Dhaka. From the beginning, this project has been a group effort. Nine Americans and five Bangladeshis spent Saturday, March 10, 2000, in Shailan taking photographs and collecting information through in-depth interviews. Over a 14-hour period, the photographers shot hundreds of pictures and interviewed dozens of residents of Shailan to capture vignettes of the villagers, their daily routines, and the surroundings that make up their community. The objective throughout has been to capture the texture and richness of typical village life in rural Bangladesh. In order to bind the wide range of photographs, we have taken the liberty of threading the words of the beloved Bengali poet, Novelist, and artist Rabindranath Tagore throughout the portfolio to help tell the simple yet elegant story of village life. Following this day in the field, the group came together on a regular basis to select the best photographs, review the text of the manuscript, and provide input for the book's layout. The name chosen for the author is a pseudonym made up by the group to reflect the collaboration between East and West on this effort.