Home sweet home

November 19th, 2009

Well not quite home yet – but back in Dhaka. It’s funny how a city which last week felt so strange, poverty stricken and otherworldly, now feels quite familiar and prosperous.

Of course all these things are relative, but somehow it feels like the people I have met in recent days in rural areas, with no secure income or home are so much more isolated than people in cities. Of course there is great poverty in Dhaka, I haven’t been to the slums on this visit, but I know they are still there. But somehow there is a sense that you are at least connected with the outside world, and so there might be opportunities and communities to protect you.

Maybe its the ever present billboards (promising among other things 100% freedom from dandruff) which contrast with all the handpainted sign boards in the rural areas. Maybe it’s the mobile phones that are everywhere. Or maybe it’s the increased number of motorised vehicles. People are dressed differently – and it might be my imagination, but it feels like a happier place.

But then you could argue that poverty is worse in cities, because poor people tend to me more exposed to those with money than they do in the rural areas. People in Rangpur could go for weeks without coming into contact with people outside their own community, but in Dhaka you have to go through rich areas to get to poor areas and vice versa.

So which is worse? I don’t know and development academics will argue about it for an eternity. To the people at the sharp end it doesn’t matter anyway. The important thing is that we do everything we can to tackle the problem wherever we find it …

One response to “Home sweet home”

  1. Ujjal Says:

    Have a good journey rob. Wish you a happy home back.

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