On the road to Manikganj
Anyone with an interest in Bangladesh should check out the book called Freedom Unfinished by Jeremy Seabrook. It focuses on the activities of Proshika, an NGO with field offices throughout the country. Bangladesh has more NGO’s, local and international, then any other place in the world. The book’s format is a road trip through the country where he meets a variety of people and also interviews Proshika members who are working on educational, cultural and social projects. Since the book was written there has been some controversy surrounding the leader of the organization who was sent to prison on corruption charges a few years ago. I’m sure it’s a very complicated issue.
The view from my room at Proshika’s Guest House
Only a couple of hours away from Dhaka, Proshika runs an impressive hotel/guest house and conference center near a town called Manikganj, one of nicest areas I have visited in Bangladesh. After reading Seabrook’s book I was especially interested in seeing the place. On the day I arrived in late January there was a family social gathering for the employees of Grameenphone, one of the largest companies in Bangladesh founded by the Nobel Prize winner Dr. Yunnis. It reminded me of those corporate functions that we have in the States.
The best part of the trip was wondering through the villages in the area and visiting a combination country fair/market. These “mela’s” spring up all over Bangladesh and provide the locals – especially the young people with a chance to socialize and entertain themselves. Inside of a huge circus tent there was quite an “interesting” variety show with young girls mouthing the words of Hindi pop songs and dancing up a storm.