Every year you see people in waist deep water, some seated on the roof waiting for some form of rescue (usually none) or mourning over some dead bodies of their relatives having their lives literally washed away…that is the fact of live in Bangladesh. I have never been to Bangla but we have a lot of foreign Bangla workers here trying to make a living and send money home to ligthen the burden of their families.
Take Raj for example…a general worker at the bowling alley where we would stretch our finger muscles every weekend. He has been here for the past 6 years and he is happy with his job. To many bowlers, he is an important person because he keeps the lane waxed and in tip top condition and the boss is happy with him because he took the job seriously. One day, i struck a conversation with him and asked about his family back home. He of course missed his family badly…his aging parents and young siblings but what he look forward most is getting a wife. For his 6 years of work here, he managed to saved enough to build a 4 storey family home and bought a small piece of land for his parents to tend the field and seed some crops. Although he is only a general worker in a foreign land but he is a rich man back home. We seems to have everything here but most things still belongs to the bank while we still have to die-die work like a cow to pay off mortgages and installments.
I used to asked why these people not move elsewhere since they have to endure extreme hardship whenever monsoon hits them mercilessly year in year out. Then after some reading…my geography lesson from secondary school starts “flooding” back. Most fertile lands in Bangladesh are located on and around the 3 mighty river of Ganges, Brahmaptra and Meghna which forms the delta and these people relies on agriculture for livelihood. Delta is the pulse of Bangladesh economy…so are the farmer’s. Being one of the major rice and jute producers in the region, other sectors seems weak coupled with low literacy rate which does not offer much options to turn their lives around.
What i admire is their will to live and work despite the punishment every year. Knowing monsoon would come releashing its wrath and breaks the river banks each year…these people continue in believing that nothing can stop them from surviving. They have never gave up. The yearly monsoon seems destructive but it is also because of that the land is fertile. They may have to start everything from scretch after the flood receeded but the thought of a good harvest probably lighten up their day. They are the true survivor. I do not believe i can survive in such situation because i never deny i’m a pampered baby just like many others. It is when we seems to have so much that we take days to days luxury and comfort for granted.
While not all Bangaldeshi are so fortunate to turn their lives around working in a foreign land like Raj but now I know why he built a 4 storey building instead of 1…..