As I think back on our time in Bangladesh I am reminded of some of my first thoughts. The first thing that crossed my mind when stepping foot into the most densely populated country in the world was, “it is crowded”. You think this would be an obvious assumption but it really takes you off guard. This isn’t like driving down I-5 during rush hour traffic crowded, I mean you cant even walk let alone move while trying to get anywhere at anytime crowded. I remember on a specific occasion when Justin and I were going to buy train tickets 12 km away. It took us 1 ½-2 hours in a CNG (a motorcycle with a cage on the back…maybe one of the sketchiest, scariest experiences of my life). In a country so small with a population so big many problems occur. Trash, congestion, air pollution, noise, you name it and it’s a problem. The strong feed off the weak in a truly appalling way. I remember a story the Pastor we were working with in the village told Justin. A rich man approached a villager a few years ago with stories of work in America. This is in very high demand in Bangladesh, leaving for the West to work and send back money is the biggest craze. The rich man told the villager that if he could pay upwards $5-7,000 US dollars then he could get him a working visa and a plane ticket. The villager spent not only his entire life savings but he was also loaned life savings from his entire family and ½ the village. Everything this man and everyone he knew had went into getting this money for the one shot to move to America and work. Getting a job at Taco Bell would pay well over any job in Bangladesh by at least 5X.
The villager finally got all of the money together and the rich man came back to pick it up. With promises to be back in the next few months the rich man left with the money. The villager waited. And waited. And waited. 5 years later he is still waiting with no sign of the rich man or his money. When trying to reach this man all phone numbers and office buildings he could once be reached at have been cut off. Out of sight with an entire villages life savings. This is real life in Bangladesh.