Bangladesh is a country in southern Asia located on the Indian subcontinent. It borders for the most part on India and for a small part on Myanmar. The country is located to the north of the Bay of Bengal and mainly includes the river Ganges delta. Due to this location, there are often floods in the country. Bangladesh is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world with an estimated population of 120 million in an area four times the size of the Netherlands. These facts immediately reflect the core problem of Bangladesh. Too many people, too much unemployment and therefore a lot of poverty. The masses are busy every day gathering the basic necessities of life…

Strange as it may sound, it was exactly what made Bangladesh so charming for me. In the Netherlands everyone is continuously behind a computer, getting in a car or switching the channels on TV out of boredome, but here in Bangladesh everyone is out on the street from early in the morning to late in the evening. Where we’d like everything to be done automatically, the Bengal are masters in the crafts.

After a bizarre half-hour drive on bumpy roads in an extremely uncomfortable van with a driver of just eighteen, driving as if there were no children, dogs and elderly on the road, we stopped, thank God. The first thing I noticed was a kind of tapping coming from the other side of a hill. It sounded very spacious, as if it were coming from hundreds of sides. At the top of the hill I saw something like this scene. Really hundreds of people were busy with boats and breaking stones. They were beating those stones to a pulp with hammers. The boats provided the supply. This is the only place in Bangladesh where stone can be found. We decided to go on a boat trip…’

I was a guest at a tea plantation the size of the province of Utrecht for a few days. On the terrace of my guesthouse I had a chat with the manager, a nice boy of about 27 years old. He told me that these people, mainly Hindus, were not allowed to leave the plantation and if they did they could never return. It’s been like that for generations! The make 80 cents a day, but have a roof over their heads, medical care when they’re ill and get food at the purchase price. With that they are much better off than most… I asked him how he interacted with his ’employees’: “Just orders”, he said dryly. A moment later I saw him ranting from his motorcycle at some women at the plantation.

At the airport to Dhaka, the plane turned out to be more than an hour late. Time to take some pictures in the neighborhood. In that hour I was able to make a lot of beautiful shots. ‘Beautiful’ because it is such a different reality from what I am used to.

A primitive brickyard, like many in Bangladesh. Even the oxen are still doing their rounds. Within five minutes the workers gathered around me, staring at me curiously. No communication options, yes, laughing a lot and hiding behind the camera, pretending to be busy. These men earned about 40 cents a day. And then to think that I drank three double whiskeys on my first night in Dhaka in the Sheration hotel that costed me €69,-. In an Islamic country alcohol is actually out of the question. For these people it’s almost a semi-annual salary! What a crazy world…

Also check Dhaka