Rolling Blackouts, Broken-down Vehicles and Dr. Yunus
Bangladesh is still considered a third world country. However, the country’s economy and world presence is growing quickly, especially in the garments industry. As a result, there are rolling blackouts constantly. At first, all of us would stop and wait for the generators to kick on before continuing what we were doing. However, we all noticed that no one else but us seem to notice the blackouts. Last night solidified it in all of our minds how much we have adapted to the blackouts in such a short amount of time. There were six of us hanging out in my hotel room at the end of the day when the lights went out and the dull hum of electricity went out and we all kept talking and carrying on like nothing had even happened!
By far the safest and possibly easiest way to get around (other than walking) is by hiring a car and driver for the day. It’s pretty cheap – usually between 200 and 500 taka ($1=70 taka) per person for the day. So yesterday, 10 of us decided to go to Bashundhara City – the largest shopping mall in Southeast Asia. So we had the hotel hire us a van. We all piled in an three blocks later, we were sitting on the side of a road with an over-heated vehicle in 100 degree, 100% humidity weather! However, in order to get to a safe place to pull-over, we had to do a U-turn into oncoming traffic (and I’m serious about the oncoming traffic, large buses, rickshaws and other cars coming straight for us as we go the wrong way on the wrong side of the road). The driver called another driver and off we went to the mall. We got to this gigantic mall and there are 8 floors of shops of all kinds. I purchased a pair of Gucci sunglasses, priced at 2,000 taka. I paid 1,500 taka after some haggling – for a total of about $25! I also purchased some scarves and gifts.
Dr. Muhammad Yunus – founder of Grameen Bank
We had the opportunity to meet Dr. Yunus yesterday.
“Each of us have the capacity to change the world.” ~ Dr. Muhammad Yunus, July 10, 2010.