Why do Bangladeshis love fish so much
I wake up. Everything hurts me I felt like I slept for an hour. The snoring of my four other roommates kept me awake despite my need for sleep. If five of you share an extremely small room in a mud hut, we are talking about ten square meters, even ear plugs won't help.
The bed feels like it's made of stone. The missing mattress on the wooden plate probably gave me this impression. I also have to go to the bathroom. Already all night, but I didn't dare because there is no electricity and it's pitch black here at night. The toilet or the shed with a hole in the floor is outside and not particularly inviting even in daylight. You wouldn't see as many details in the dark, but I'm not sure if that wouldn't be a disadvantage.
When I'm in the toilet, I notice that peeing while crouching is far too strenuous for me. It pulls in the thighs, there is also nothing to hold on to. The stench, the flies and my fear of everything that could crawl towards me while I'm hanging over the hole with my pants down doesn't really help to speed up the process.
The rest are still asleep. I don’t know what time it is. I lie back on my wooden bench aka bed. Actually, mother and baby sleep here, they had vacated the double bed especially for us. We try to suppress our guilty conscience because of that, we can't really change anything about it anyway. To refuse such a gesture of hospitality would be taken here as an insult.
The bed - our sleeping place.
The clock is not working right now.
The blue wooden house.
There is a bed on the veranda.
The house is built from simple materials: clay, wood and corrugated iron.
These ten square meters are the whole house of a family. A room walled with clay, covered with corrugated iron and straw, without a window. There is another single bed in the room, now one of Bobby's friends is sleeping there. All the family's belongings are stowed under the beds. Dishes, kitchen utensils, blankets and clothes.
Cooking is done on a gas flame on the veranda. There is also a third bed where Bobby sleeps with another friend. I ask myself: what happens when it is monsoon - doesn't the mud house just melt away?
Johannes wakes up.
“We live in a palace” are the first words I say to his “good morning”.
At home in Berlin we have 80 square meters for two people, three rooms, a kitchen, bathroom and guest toilet. Electricity, running hot water, heating, sanitary facilities, everything that is completely normal for us and would be an absolute luxury here.
I grew very fond of the family's children, even though communication was almost impossible.
I don't speak Bengali, the children don't speak English.
But he just didn't want to believe that I don't understand Bengali and chatted at me like a waterfall.
We stole this sweet baby's bed.
Despite trying several times, I simply did not understand the relationship between the children.
The blue wooden house is slightly larger, but also accommodates at least 15 people. Individual space requirements and comfort such as your own bed do not exist here. Blankets are placed on the floor in the evening and offer space for as many people as necessary. I wonder when you will actually get to fathering children here, without any privacy.
For the water requirements one uses the fish farm next door. The children dipped their toothbrushes into the murky water without hesitation. “Oh my god, don't!” I want to scream, but suppress my intuitive reflex. That's normal here.
Normal - what a relative term, but it is supposed to mean the usual.
Every society, every country obviously has its own generality, its own normality. The living conditions of Bobby's family are just normal here.
The only fortified private house in the area belongs to a family friend. He owns several fish farms, he also breeds crabs and shrimp, and the business is doing really well. He has a two-story house, a large vegetable and flower garden with an ornamental pond and lots of coconut trees.
We get a detailed tour of the house with kitchen, toilet and bathroom. Johannes goes with the landlord, I with the housekeeper, so that no misunderstandings arise because the furnished bedroom on the second floor is proudly presented to us. There is no water connection yet, but light bulbs are hanging from the ceiling on the ground floor.
Fish masala is served as a snack and as much fresh coconut water as we want.
The family puts the entire profit into the expansion of the house, nothing is set aside for bad times, Bobby tells us - that the family sometimes goes hungry, if the fish farming is too low, you can't tell from their status.
The owner of the house with his son and a coconut that was just fetched from the tree for me, although I tried hard to make it clear that this was really not necessary.
Fish masala. Predicate: tasty and hot.
The housekeeper and I ...
and her mother. It is common in Bangladesh to live with your parents.
Curious spectators and Bobby (far right). Here you act freely according to the motto everyone photographs everyone.
We set off in the direction of Khulna, back to the city. Our three days in the country are over, somehow everything went very quickly and yet I got so many intense impressions as seldom.
In the West we tend to condemn the Bangladeshis from our comfortable armchairs for exterminating the tiger in the Sundarbans without dealing with the actual situation of everyone on the ground. My encounters with local residents have shown me once again that every topic has two sides to be taken seriously. Only a holistic solution approach like the one the Wildteam is pursuing with the “Mother Sundarbans” project can lead to a satisfactory solution.
I'm happy, it was an exhausting but wonderful time with Bobby's family, who even invited us to Christmas at the end. The offer attracts me a little, because it would actually be about getting together, without discussions about food, gifts and decorations. However, we would not be able to relax and enjoy it if we also blocked the family home over the holidays. I am quite sure, even if you didn't let it show, that everyone is looking forward to their beds again.
Just as I was happy to be back at the hotel, lie down on an upholstered bed, sit on a toilet and take the most beautiful shower of my life.
I have never appreciated hot running water so much.
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