Bangladesh – Travel to Rangpur
Today we continued our travels after a much needed night of sleep, and boarded a bus to Rangpur.
Traveling through the outskirts of Dhaka and the countryside the struggles of the people and the challenges of the country are apparent; terrible living conditions, pollution, overcrowding. There is hope for the future of Bangladesh.
As the ambassador shared with us, families in Bangladesh are allowed to have the family size they desire. The fertility rate is only 2.1 children per family, which is essentially a stable population replacement rate. Because of current momentum the population is expected to continue to rise from the current 155 million and to peak around 200 million. Note this is all in an area about the size of Iowa.
Bangladesh has recently become independent in rice production, growing enough to export a surplus. And within the next ten years, they are expected to become entirely food independent.
On the side of the road one can also witness many Bangladeshis at work, such as sawmills, construction, welding, brick making, woodworking and craft making. The recent horrific fire in a Dhaka textile plant highlighted the deplorable conditions for workers here. However, the political response both local and internationally may be building momentum for change.