Back from the death
It was not pain but fear that was killing her during the time she was stuck in the mangled wreckage of the nine-storey Rana Plaza in Savar.
At the time of the collapse on Wednesday, Sofura Begum was working at Phantom Apparel on the third floor. All of a sudden the rooftop caved in, carrying her along to the second floor where she remained sandwiched for the next 27 hours in rubble.
Sofura, a divorcee and mother of two children, was speaking of her horrifying experience to The Daily Star as she lay on a bed at Enam Medical College Hospital, Savar, yesterday.
She had not blacked out even for a moment before she was rescued around 11:00am. Trapped under a sewing machine and pressed against a concrete wall on the other side, she could only move her eyelids in futile attempts to see in the dark.
At one point she felt very thirsty but there was no water, Sofura said. "One worker was then kind enough to give me saliva" to wet her throat.
"I also heard of people urinating and some others drinking that thing."
Her injuries to the head, arms and legs had not worried her. All the time she had been wondering whether she would see her eight-year-old daughter Regina and five-year-old son Sohel again.
There had been a lot of people like her trapped on the second and third floors, she said. Some were buried under debris while some were trapped but unhurt.
She joined the garment factory three years ago, leaving her children in her home town Bogra. She has one relative in Dhaka -- her uncle Akkas Ali, who resides in Savar.
"I was afraid to go to the factory [on Wednesday] as cracks had developed in the building the day before."
But the factory owner had threatened that the workers would not get their arrears if they remained absent, Sofura said.
She had not received her payment for the last two months. Akkas Ali, a plumber who was looking after her at the hospital, said she borrowed Tk 50 from him on Tuesday to buy a kilogram of rice.
"Now I don't know how she will bear the costs of treatment."