|The men and boys from the village check us out.
|Village women take a moment from their unending
daily chores to watch some of our filming.
|The Sultan's Palace
|Fishing in the Sultan's Lake
Hunger was an ongoing problem in this area of Bangladesh. One of the main reasons was the area's culture, which was built around small family farms. Because Bangladesh had no mechanism to get crops to market, the farmers only grew enough food to feed their own families. In times past, before the population burgeoned, this culture worked well, but not now...not in today's densely populated region filled with landless people with no reliable sources for food.
The missionaries' project had succeeded in making great inroads in solving this ongoing problem of hunger. Using the latest agricultural technology, the cooperative was able to grow multiple crops of rice a year, providing both food and work for the area's landless people.
|Rice co-op workers in the field.
They also wanted to help the countless number of widows produced by the country's devastating war for independence. The problem was that in the Muslim culture women are not permitted to work except for their husbands or fathers. If they do not have a husband or a father to protect and provide for them their only religiously-sanctioned option for survival is to beg.
This option did not sit well with many of these women, so they chose to go against religious law, and at considerable risk to their standing in their community, work for the cooperative. Allowing this put the Missionaries at odds with the Muslim leaders in the community.
It was an intense, unforgettable experience. I only hope the daring women who took this step that night found sufficient solace in their new faith to warrant the ongoing danger in which they had put themselves.