on The Scanblog (Bangladesh), 23/Jan/2009 17:11, 34 days ago
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Yes friends and fiends, behold! Such was my enormous guilt at having left it a month and a half since my last entry, I decided to write two at once in order to make it up to you, my avid and cherished readers. Thus this one whatchyoornowreadin'innit deals with a day trip we took from Dhaka some time back in.... November. Yes, I'm afraid so, I'm that far behind. But I AM making the effort now, honest. The second post, below this one, details the volunteers' social exploits over yuletide...oohhh, the anticipation!This post will show you a bit more of rural Bangladesh, which is far more representative than the city scape of Dhaka covered in this blog up until now. Our day trip was down south, to a place called Potuokhali. It only lasted a couple of days but it gave us a great chance to see what placements are actually like. We had as our guide a lovely Phillippino volunteer called Rhori. She has oodles of experience from being Executive Director of her own NGO back in the Phillippines and she pulled no punches in describing the poverty she encountered while doing her job.On our way to Potuokhali we had to cross the mighty Dharmaputra river. This huge body of water is, in it's own right, a major reason the Mughals took a while to subjugate all of the Bengal region. Traffic on the river varied in size from fairly substantial ferries to myriad fishing boats like one above. We wished the passenger ferries were slightly more numerous - we waited four hours in our bus before we could board one!As I said in the beginning blurb, the above are more typical scenes of Bangladesh than the Dhaka city-scapes.As part of our orientation, we were taken to a couple of villages where Rhori's Community Based Organisation (CBO) works. Project Officers acted as intermediaries between ourselves and the villagers.The guy in the bottom right is the project officer. Through him, the women of the village told us about how lack of sanitation is the key problem for them, as well as lack of access to education. The men of the village were all working in the fields at the time of the meeting. It was a moving experience if for no other reason than because the entire community was gathered in the centre of the village to speak with us.A final shot of one of the local rivers at dusk. Compared with the colossal Dharmaputra, this 'river' isn't much to write home about. The reason I am writing home about it is really just pity. Because no one else is going to. Because it really isn't anything to write home about....stop writing now? Yeah, you bet.All my love guys, and I'll write again soon (probably).