On the road to Dhaka… (again)

I’m writing on the train (which is a lot better than shouting into the phone on the train…), heading to Dhaka in Bangladesh, for a very short but efficiently planned trip with MAF.  I love visiting Bangladesh – well, usually, and I hope this is the same again.  It was one of the first places I visited after I started working for Tearfund in 1993.  That visit was all about clay and crafts, visiting villages that were supplying clay nativity sets for what was then Tearcraft, one of the pioneering fair trade organisations, and an offshoot of Tearfund (in fact, I think Tearcraft started with jute angels being flown back on empty relief planes after some of Tearfund’s early humanitarian responses, during the civil war in the early 1970s, and sold to raise more funds).

Clay moving, Bangladesh 1993 :: copyright Tearfund

As you can see from the slide scan above, there’s not masses left from that trip (at least that I have access to) – this pic ran as a double page spread in the magazine Tear Times, but the tranny got sent out and rescanned over and over, and as you can see, by the time I got round to scanning it myself, it had been well and truly thrashed… Still like the pic though…

I went back to look at more craft stuff a couple of years later – this was my favourite shot from that visit (again, clay related):

Pot production for Tearcraft :: approx 1996 :: copyright Tearfund

I’ve been back twice more since then, so this will be my fifth visit – I think that must be as many times as I’ve been anywhere for work (Rwanda, Sudan and Kenya would be the others around that sort of number). One of those visits was all about eggs. And things a designer imagined I might see while I was there. Don’t ask.

And the other was a couple of years ago, again with MAF (who fly light aircraft into some of the most remote places on earth – I’ve worked with them in some amazing countries – Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar).  In Bangladesh, they fly a Cessna float plane, which can land in hundreds of river locations around the country, as well as on the tarmac at Dhaka International – all pretty awesome actually!  Landing on a river next to a boat carrying tons of bricks (for hardcore as well as building use), so low in the water that it’s at constant risk of swamping, is an extraordinary experience…

South of Dhaka, November 2009 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for MAF

That's a whole lorra bricks... (or whatever they're carrying), near Barguna, Bangladesh, November 2009 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for MAF

Landing near Itna, Bangladesh, November 2009 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for MAF

It’s a quick in and out trip, which I’m quite pleased about – unless there’s a pressing need for a long trip (as there was in Haiti in January), it’s great to think I’ll be home in little over a week. It does take a little extra planning though, and mean there’s no down time at all – but that really is the way it should be…

Ferry crossing river, near Barguna, Bangladesh, November 2009 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for MAF

River crossing, Dhaka old town, Bangladesh, November 2009 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for MAF

River bank near Bhola, Bangladesh, November 2009 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for MAF

Food on the ferry, Kuakata, Bangladesh, November 2009 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for MAF

Drying rice near Itna, Bangladesh, November 2009 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for MAF

Land and water near Itna, Bangladesh, November 2009 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for MAF

I’ll see if I can blog at all while I’m away – will try…

 

richard hanson :: photographer :: sheffield

www.hansonphoto.co.uk