I’m a city-boy at heart. I panic if I’m more than a few blocks away from the subway. I’m also used to living in a nuclear family and the hemisphere of relatives that usually come with it (immediate aunts, uncles, and cousins). Since coming to Bangladesh, I’ve had to change some of those conceptions and expand my horizons. My trip to Jamalpour – a rural remote village in Bangladesh – was one such experience for me.
My grandmother on my mother’s side is my last surviving grandparent. In turn, she has only one last surviving sibling – a brother who lives in a rural village not far from where I was doing some work related to my latest YouTube episode. In fact, before I was able to visit that school for working kids – my grandmother insisted that I go see her brother (and his children and grandchildren) first. Time is precious and opportunities like this come up rarely. In my family, no one appreciates that fact more than my grandmother.
Here are some photos I took on that trip. See them after the jump or you can check even more of them out on my Flickr photoset titled “My Trip to Jamalpour”.
I knew I was in the middle of nowhere when my relatives wanted to take me the main attraction of their village: an island and a bridge under construction. I cringed when I heard that – but I’m glad I went and took a look. It turned out to be a breathtaking experience. The photos really don’t justice.
The photo above is taken from the bridge still under construction. I had to climb onto the bridge using a plank made of bamboo and string – I have a new respect for bamboo after walking on this shaky and precariously placed plank. This river goes off into the horizon as it snakes around this island. The ferry on the river (really just two boats tied together) was going back and forth bringing bales of hay to the island.
I actually rushed back to the house to grab my camera to take a photo of this sunset. I – foolishly – assumed there wasn’t going to be anything worth photographing (I mean, a bridge under construction, some water, and an island? puhleez). Had I come with my camera originally – I would have been able to take a photo of the sun being reflected upon the river. Alas the photo above (still beautiful) will have to do instead.
The photo above is – once again – more proof that the poor in the developing world are some of the hardest working people. Would you push a huge bale of hay uphill while it rests on nothing more than a cart with bicycle wheels? I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it.
These were some passengers that were on the boat with us as we crossed the river. And here is a photo of the guy steering the boat. And by “steering the boat” I mean he had a long bamboo stick which he pushed against the river floor to gently direct the boat. It’s surprisingly accurate.
If this bridge seems a bit overkill in its height – you’re kind of right. Part of the reason is because of flooding. The water levels are much higher during raining seasons. It’s also a hedge against global warming. Because even if some of us back in the developed want to debate whether or not it global warming exists – it’s a reality for the poor people of Bangladesh.