22° 49' North; 89° 33' East
From an idealist we are proud to know is one of our own....
"Rarely does one find himself in the middle of the road in this country…except perhaps when he is, literally, driving in the middle of the road as per the hair-raising custom. From overloaded transport trucks, trawlers of questionable sea-worthiness, and isolated rural villages stocked with anorexic cattle to a concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few rather than the pockets of the majority, equilibrium in today’s Bangladesh is reached through a balance of extremes.
The five-day field mission to Khulna division from which I just recently returned was in many ways representative of .....reality on the ground is often far different from its depiction on paper, and poverty breeds both pain and resilience.
The victims associations that were the focus of the excursion embodied both of these relatively universal observations. For the unacquainted, (essentially all those outside my own family, and probably more than one of them as well…), the victims of torture who have received treatment from BRCT have been encouraged for a number of years to form groups of fellow victims in their own communities.....Most of the members of these associations, which have grown in number considerably over the past two years, are farmers or unskilled labourers with limited formal education but considerable tenacity......
.... Several groups have developed small-scale businesses, the profits from which are used to fund the daily activities of their organization and to create a pool of savings used to grant loans to members seeking to regain their own financial independence. In one case, a 4000 Taka loan (about $80 CAD) allowed a female member to purchase a cow, which now produces 2kg of milk per day at 15 Taka per kilogram.....
...... Beyond the humbling experience of visiting close to a dozen of these organizations, the trip provided a number of other vignettes of life in both rural and urban Bangladesh. While each is worthy of a separate post unto itself, I’ll try to keep it brief for the benefit of the weary eyes of the reader and for the work that I should really attend to instead of writing in this journal....."
Go read it all, 'cause it'll do you good; fantastic stuff from a young Canadian who's doing his damndest to do the right thing without the (anti-)aid of guns, armies and massive loans designed to collapse local economies and make them forever subservient to offshore hegemonists.
Heck, he's even got pictures!