Richard and Sally are tranzsend workers. They recently returned to work in Bangladesh after a decade’s absence. They are based in Savar, 28 km from Dhaka. World Reach asked them to comment on the changes they’ve observed.
Returning to Dhaka after 10 years, we’ve noticed that some things haven’t changed. The beggars are still on the street. The mosques still blare out the call to prayer and the battle for heart and minds is still here. The curries and sweet mangoes are still wonderful; the Bengalis’ friendliness still warms us; their constant questions about New Zealand and the state of Black Caps’ Brendan McCallum’s back still amuse us.
Other things have changed. Dhaka has grown upwards. Our two storey house has been knocked down and will be replaced by a 10-storey complex. Everywhere we look, we see tall buildings reaching up like trees in the forest, competing for sunshine. There are many more imported Japanese cars too. That means the traffic jams are worse than before. There are flyovers but they simply take us from one jam to another more quickly.
People seem more westernised now. Shops are full of goods from Thailand and Malaysia. Small air-conditioned supermarkets have sprouted up throughout the city and it seems we can purchase everything except pet food and Weetbix.
Another huge difference is the appearance of mobile phones. Ten years ago there were none; now every second person has one. Of course we’re not complaining about that, it makes life easier when stuck in a traffic jam or phoning New Zealand once a week to keep in touch with family.
We had an interesting bus trip yesterday from Savar to Dhaka – about 28km. As usual the bus was filthy and packed with people. As more and more passengers crammed aboard it became quite claustrophobic. Sally and I were squashed in the back seat next to a guy with a large pot plant.
Passengers began to berate the driver for waiting too long at stops and trying to fit in more people, “Oh driver, is the bus actually going to leave today?” “Come on driver let’s go, we’re melting in the heat!”
Sally was also getting cross and gave me a couple of dirty looks saying, “I’m never coming on this Number 7 bus again!”
I tried to look on the bright side with helpful comments like, “Well at least there are no goats and chickens on board.”
Sally and I both feel privileged and happy to have returned here because we can give Bengalis God’s hope. We feel like we have come home.
I (Richard) am preparing a three week lecture on cults and apologetics to help students to have confidence as they’re constantly challenged by Muslims who deny the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Sally is looking forward to setting up our home in Savar, near the college, and doing some refresher study of Bengali.
Please pray for Richard and Sally as they represent tranzsend and serve in Bangladesh.