Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

This ain’t no disco. It ain’t no country club either

This is Dha-ka…

People, people, people. Noise, traffic, pollution, confusion and mosquitos. I’m in the VSO office in Dhaka, while Ollie (English volunteer) does a booze run to the fine establishment that is Hotel Galaxy. Ollie needs to vent, I need to drink, I think we’re going to get on just fine tonight. 

Sample conversation from bus trip:

Bangla boy from seat in front: Which country are you from?

Me: South Africa.

Blank stare.

BB: But you’re not black.

Me: No, I’m not. But I’m still South African.

BB: South Africa has black people.

Me: Yes, it does. And also white people and various colours in between.

Silence. Blank stare.

Me: (Sigh). You like cricket?

BB: Yes!

Me: South African cricket team?

BB: Yes, South Africa is Shaun Pollock* country.

Me: And he is white. And so are most of the SA cricket team, no?

BB: Ah. Yes. (Thoughtful pause) Tick acche, apnar desh South Africa (Ok, your country is South Africa)

Me: Ta, thanks.

That conversation actually happens quite often. Only by reminding people of the SA cricket team (who they all know and love) can I convince them that South Africa also has white people, of which I am one. 

* Does Shaun Pollock even still play for SA?


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