Day 36: Dhaka Drawings

We spent a few hours yesterday evening walking around the Korail community – nestled between Banani lake and Mohakhali, it contains over 250,000+ people. We were commenting on its vibrancy and energy and feel for community as we walked through, filled with productivity and activity, bazaars, mosques, schools, micro-factories.  Without romanticising the largest slum in Bangladesh, we witnessed aspects of community that is often missing elsewhere in the city, camaraderie, easy access to ‘public’ spaces to hang out (even if it is just a tea stall with a tv.) and lanes filled with children making do with the space they have to play, cycling, ‘guddi’ (marbles) amongst other things. Bazaar lanes were brim with activity and we were of course blessed with a cool september air.

Cities within cities, as we got lost, people guided us, we stopped and drank tea in different places and observed at certain places how clean the lanes were. This was anything but a slum! We can see they need better waste management systems (What to do with the rubbish after its piled up? not dump it in the lake, surely?!) Reduction of crime, with regular policing or police checks if required, and creating the definition of private and public spaces (it already exists, with lanes blocked off with a sheet of fabric to say it is not a public throughway. I can see how quickly this city can become one of despair, when it floods, or when the sun really begins to shine, with the tin, then, not providing much respite, nor the Lake.

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