Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dallying in Dilipur
August 17, 2007

Today I went to visit Hamida’s village home, Dilipur, in the Tangail district. It was a three hour bus ride from Dhaka. Hamida took her oldest son, Aliph, with her to visit her two youngest sons who are staying in her mother’s house. I got to meet Hamida’s two younger brothers, her parents, and her in-laws’ family.

Hamida’s family lives in a traditional village house, though it is made of CI sheet instead of mud. There are two rooms (or separate houses) on either side of a central courtyard. The open, outdoor kitchen is on the third side which is next to a small pond. A storage shack closes off part of the fourth, entrance side. Most of houses in this area are built just off of the main road which is elevated about eight feet above the surrounding area which is mainly comprised of ponds with small houses built on the edge.

Hamida’s village was affected by the floods. A mud line about two feet from the ground indicated where the water was. It is easy to see how the houses in this area would easily be flooded as they are built right next to the water and are not raised on stilts or plinths as they often are in other parts of Asia. When the houses are flooded, many villagers sleep in small shacks they construct on the road which as I said is several feet above the water level.

On the bus ride down, I learned some interesting new things about Hamida. First, she is 23 years old. (I thought she was about ten years older than this.) She was married when she was eleven years old and had her first child at thirteen. Her parents arranged her marriage to her husband. Fortunately, was only five years older than her (often the men are 10 – 20 years older). While I knew that women here got married much younger, I was shocked to learn that marriage at eleven is quite common in the villages!

Below are some pictures I took in her village.

Rickshaws in the Rain
It was raining when we arrived in Tangail, the main town in the district where we transferred to another bus which took us to Dilipur. Fortunately when we arrived in Dilipur the rain let up. It was a pleasant half hour rickshaw ride to Hamida’s house.

Amar amra bhalo lage!
This guy is selling amras by the side of the road. It kind of has the taste and consistency of an unripe apple. Very yummy!

Young Fisherman
This boy is catching fish (perhaps illish mach, the national fish?) in a pond near Hamida’s house.

Dilipur Countryside
In this photo you can see how the road is raised several feet from the surrounding waterway. Two boys are fishing and jute (one of Bangladesh's main agricultural products) is stacked by the side of the road.

People Parade
I was the main attraction in town that day. All of the neighbors came out of their house to see me. I had a little parade of people behind me as we walked from Hamida’s mother’s house to her in-laws’ house. It was most amusing…

Hamida’s Family
Here is a photo I took of Hamida’s family: her, her two younger brothers, her parents, and her three sons (plus a few neighbors who just did not want to miss a photo opportunity!)


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