The lights are out in Dhaka

I dont know if i mentioned how many power outages we have everyday in Dhaka. On the average at least five. They last as short as 2 minutes and as long as 30 minutes. I just sat down to the computer after 2 hours of constant blackouts. And to add to the frustration,the broadband here is like dial up ten years ago in the States. I have finally downloaded a bunch of my photos to the computer and will start posting them. My visit here in Bangladesh is ending Saturday as I leave for India so I will try and share in my blog as much as I can of my experiences the last month here.
Today i visited for the last time on this trip,the BPKS center in Uttara, which is located in one of the newer neighborhoods near the airport.The area I go to is literally on the wrong side of the tracks.There is usually a line up of bicycle rickshaws going both ways down a road wide enough for one vehicle. In between the rickshaws are CNGs (Constortium of Natural GAs). They use natural gas instead of petrol and they look like bumper cars. Squeezing in along side
both of these modes of transport are small taxis, large vans and people. I realize after 4 weeks here that staying alive is a miracle.
I finally arrived at BPKS which is known as the disabled people’s organization of Bangladesh. The word handicapped is never used. Leaving a copy of all the photos i shot out in the field, i said my good bys to Sattar the general manager, mastermind behind BPKS. he himself is disabled. In 1976 he fell out of a tree when he was 17 and was paralyzed from the waist down..He realized after 7 years of physical therapy how difficult it is for disabled people to have a life or a job or respect in Bangladesh so (this is a simplification) he started the
Bangladesh Protibandhi Kallyan Somity. Protibandhi is disabled in Bangla. I am hoping that when i return to the US, i will be able to do some fund raising for them..
Its 1 am in Dhakar and everyone in my guesthouse is sleeping as well as most of the city. This is the best time to use the computer because there are not usually blackouts when power is not being used and abused. The government is going through a purge after 30 years of corruption,and more corruption. Most of the NGOs here are just fronts for people to steal.
i was told today by Sattar from BPKS that our wonderful govt in the US is behind the restructuring of the government here. They have arrested so many officials, i am not sure who is left. I believe it is a bit late. most of the corrupt officials and business owners have already sent their monies out of the country and will probably buy their way out of jail.. This could just be show for the people. Along with arresting officials, they have demolished illegal storefronts where poor people have their shops and they have outlawed bicycle rickshaws from the main streets. This will only cause suffering for the working class who is struggling just to eat everyday.. one never knows what will happen tomorrow..

One Response to The lights are out in Dhaka

  1. rindajoy March 10, 2007 at 1:31 pm #

    Lois, Happy to hear you’re safe and in some ways enjoying your travels. I didn’t make it to Bangladesh so it’s interesting what you have to say. Great photos and I look forward to hearing about your travels through India. Stay safe and most importantly healthy.

    Rinda

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