Thursday, December 14, 2006


My next stop after Mumbai was Dhaka, Bangladesh. I flew to Kolkata (Calcutta) which is very close to Bangladesh and then took an older jet to Dhaka. In today's era of armored cockpit doors in the U.S., it was surprising to see the flimsy door fly open on landing!

Billboard for Grameen Phone

Bangladesh is distinctly poorer than the potions of India I visited, but it was also had simultaneous pockets of wealth and poverty side by side. Grameen Phone had quite a presence: apparently they had just introduced a new logo and 40% of all billboards I saw were for Grameen Phone. Grameen Phone is of course a dramatically successful social enterprise started by Muhammad Yunus, this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Children sitting outside TV shop, watching TVs inside

I walked around when I arrived and got a feeling for Gulshan, the wealthier part of Dhaka city. There were nice shops along with gigantic shanty towns. I particularly loved seeing half a dozen kids sitting on the street outside the window of a TV shop, all riveted by a Tom and Jerry cartoon on a half a dozen screens!

The TV shop was around the corner from the BRAC building, which was my main destination for my visit. Between these two was a bridge over a lake, and the lake was also a transportation hub. Boatmen would ferry people across this garbage filled lake to reach the giant shantytown.

Lake with shantytown from high above in office tower

Boatmen on lake in Dhaka

I only spent 48 hours in Bangladesh, but they were jam packed hours. More in my next blogs on what we're doing and what I learned in Bangladesh.

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