I’m so very glad I came. Bangladesh has turned out to be one of the best places to witness a whole range of different things – once wildly successful but now stagnant family planning programs, fascinating environmental activism and policy (did you know they’ve banned polyurethane bags, which were choking drainage systems, instead using cloth or netting carriers?), some of the world’s largest and inspiringly influential/effective NGOs, a female prime minister (as well as a female leader of the main opposition party), ongoing efforts to promote development in a breathtakingly productive but impoverished country, a play-by-play look at the effects of and humanitarian respose to catastrophic severe weather events (linked to deforestation and climate change), cultural and religious tensions/cooperation in an extremely conservative Muslim-majority society (most women cannot leave their homes unaccompanied by a male relative etc.) and so on.
If I could now just decide what I’m going to write about for this paper Professor Rahman is encouraging us to write…
The flood is getting worse. The water will be up to our hotel doorstep before Friday if the waters continue to rise at the same rate (they’re already just a dozen meters down the street). It’s possible that clean water and even food will become scarce inside of a fortnight. It’s the worse flooding in over a decade, but people are still hopeful that it’ll start to subside in a couple of days. Pray for an end to the disaster, people, pray!