Tuesday, October 20, 2009

slowest common denominator

In the mornings, I go to the language class by CNG through some pretty upscale neighborhoods. I go by a lot of embassies and big homes.

But after class, I cut through a slum to get to BRAC. There's no point in going by faster vehicle, since the traffic jams are caused by so many rickshaws on such little roads. Nobody is going anywhere fast.

We go into the slum under this sign; I still don't know what it says.

There are tin shacks to the right and left, and then water up to the edges of the shacks or the road.

Garbage is piled pretty high along the way.

Kids do not look like they're in school. The map just shows a road, no neighborhood. On the map it looks like one could walk through, but I don't think I'd be comfortable doing so. I don't feel unsafe in the rickshaw, but I wouldn't want to linger.

About half way through, where the buildings start to be more permanent looking, there's a big school with a courtyard.

Traffic jams start as the rickshaw school transports are letting kids out. I didn't get a good picture of these vehicles: they hold about 8 little kids driven by the bicycle driver. Slowly we see more permanent buildings as we get closer to the paved city streets.

And then we emerge about a block before my university building onto totally modern roads.

The University building is 20 stories tall; my office is on the 13th floor and I teach on the 3rd floor of the shorter building (the one with the glass elevator). We have to leave about 15 minutes before class since the elevators are always jammed: 26 people are allowed inside!

This is the school parking lot.

At the end of the day, I get into an air-conditioned car and am driven home. It's the disparities from one end of the day to the other that are unreal.


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for these photos and this chronology of your trip -- reminds me of what I saw in Bishkek, Kyrgystan, in 1998.

  2. Bruce here - - - as Julie said, Thanx so much for the pictures & chronology. The differences in the landscape in such short distances reminds me of traveling in South Korea when I was there with the Air Force.