Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

Bandraban – part 1

So Bandraban… I met up with 4 other VSO volunteers for a long weekend in Bandraban. Was great to see another district of the CHT, and some of the other indigenous communities that I don’t come across here in Rangamati.

Us 5 foreigners caused quite the level of interest amongst the locals in town. Impossible to do anything without drawing a crowd. My trips to the market here in Rangamati cause just about as much excitement, but I think now they are getting more used to me. I’m old news here now.

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Negotiating for an auto-rickshaw

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Participatory fruit shopping

Laura (pictured fruit shopping and negotiating) works for an NGO that was hosting a herbal fair on Sunday night. That also coincided with a Marma (indigenous community/tribe) festival called Wah. Unfortunately the weather was heavily against us all, and a torrential downpour resulting in the evening cultural event having to be cancelled after about 30mins. Shame, the poor kiddies who had been practising their dancing and singing for weeks. Managed to get one photo of some performers before the stage was shut down. Bangladeshi electricity and torrential downpour = get the feck out of there.

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Information is sketchy on what the Wah festival is about, despite Laura’s concentrated efforts to gain some insight into it. But it does involve letting off some balloon-lantern type things. That proved very difficult/impossible in the rain.

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Not easy in the rain

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Up, up and away

A lot of these balloon-lantern type things were let off the following night, and the sky looked magical with all these floating orbs of light. I’m amazing how long they stayed up there, caught in the wind currents etc. Hours and hours.

More later/tomorrow on our trek through the jungle and through some villages etc. Us 5 foreigners were a total liability, in our flip flops that were about as useful as a chocolate fire guard. But it was so wonderful to see the other VSO vols also falling and slipping their way through the jungle. So it’s NOT just me! I was seriously beginning to suspect I had developed a balance/standing/walking condition, but clearly it’s all of us bideshis. Sjoe.

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