A Day Out with the Kids (Bangla style)

Last week there was a special mela – an annual fair – out by the village where our friends and family live. Our adopted daughter, her husband and our grand-daughter came to visit at the same time and so, last Friday, we made a special trip out there to see them.

We missed the mela  itself – a small mercy. We’ve done it before and always end up surrounded by hundreds of village men, women and children who have never seen white people before and are, quite honestly, rude. This isn’t just our bideshiness or our Western ‘standoffishness’ – our Bangladeshi friends hate it too.

Nevertheless, no matter where you go in Bangladesh, there is always culture to observe. I took plenty of photos to show you live as it is in the rural dwellings that are life for more than 70% of the population. I’m sure things are a little different in Chittagong or Sylhet or the Sundarbans and so on – but not vastly so.

To get to the village you can either take the road or the back route along the railway lines. We always prefer the latter though they are rebuilding the bridge and we have to cross a temporary makeshift one. The old one was scary enough but this one is terrifying! Hence, I used our umbrella to keep me steady and was mocked mercilessly by my family for doing so.

The Train

As we walked along, a train came by. Because of the afore-mentioned temporary bridge, a man now leaps out and waves a flag madly to slow the train down. It goes very slowly over the new bridge (I don’t blame it) but this gave me the chance to take good photos. Normally, they come out a blur.

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On the way into the village

As the construction work goes on with the new bridge, the men doing the work live in ramshackle plastic sheet covered huts. I pity their life working under a hot Bengal sun and then going ‘home’ to this with no protection from the mosquitoes.

As we neared the village entrance, we saw a man selling pots and pans from his ‘van-gari’ and then a pig having a sleep in the cooling mud. Pigs are common here as there are lots of Hindus in the area. They are not cute and pink, alas.

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So we came to our family’s village and enjoyed seeing Bina, our daughter and Mishti, our grand-daughter. They invited us for lunch which I suspected might happen and we enjoyed many hours there waiting as the curry bubbled away in preparation.


Time spent with the family

Eric, our young ayah’s son, has really grown over the years and I enjoyed playing with him – cricket, magic tricks (he never knew he had 2 taka stuck behind his ear) and having fun with Mishti.

Mishti, alas, is still scared of her bideshi grandfather – or more accurately, his spectacles. She doesn’t wail an weep when she sees me any longer but she still frowns and doesn’t trust me. She doesn’t see many white-skinned people but gradually she is getting used to the idea that the dark-skinned ones like me and don’t run away terrified!

Bina, her mother, continues to flourish as a wife and mother. I miss her so much even after more than two years being gone. There is a hole in my heart which is her shape and only is ever plugged when she visits us.

It was a lovely day out which ended only as the skies grew black and the wind picked up. We helped bring in clothes hanging on the washing lines before they all blew away and then headed home. We almost made it before the rain came down. Even with a brolly, we all got soaked but, unlike in the UK where rain is just cold and horrible, a good soaking in Bangladesh is a delight and lots of fun.

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About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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6 Responses to A Day Out with the Kids (Bangla style)

  1. Addie says:

    I wish I could see all of these for myself, too!


  2. Oh its raining here and it is Horrible..water logging every where, cos of course no body cares before dumping garbage on the streets and drains…

    You are one brave kind soul ,not just you but your entire family is too..to live in such a different culture and whole heartedly being part of it and enjoying it too..not easy I know But it is people like you who make the difference and leave lovely memories in hearts of people who would otherwise had never had such opportunities which you provide


    • Aww that is very, very lovely of you Soma and just the kind of pleasantness I needed right now – not everything in life is going so nicely right now. 😦

      I think that, in my mind, it has never really been about making a difference in the lives of others (though, of course, I would love that to be true) but more about the difference made in my life. As I believe an African expression goes: I am because We are…


  3. Coming East says:

    Loved the pictures and the description of your day, Ken. I need to get caught up. Last I read, you were headed home to the UK!


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