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Below is a brief list of the narratives that we believe would make excellent and colourful articles in travel media worldwide.
NOTE: Click on the images for a larger preview.
Rickshaws: The Symbol of Bangladesh
But in Bangladesh this story carries on. A pedal-powered version of the rickshaw still numbers in the hundreds of thousands in Dhaka. Because of their colourful artwork, no two rickshaws are entirely the same. As you roam the streets, the pink pouts of Dhally-wood stars competes with bloody tableauxs of the Liberation War for your attention.
The Story: Bangladesh may well be the last country on Earth where rickshaws still outnumber any other form of transport; certainly they deserve the title for most colourful. Potential stories would include interviews with both artists and critics about the unique nature of this art form and what has been done (or not done) to preserve it.
Man-Eaters of Bengal
From CNN Traveller, May 2007: “In Bangladesh, rumour has it that Royal Bengal tigers have acquired a taste for human flesh. Cyclones are to blame, so the story goes; the terrible storms sweep across the Bay of Bengal and send dozens of fishermen to a watery grave, their bodies later washing up on the region’s beaches where they become an easy and habit-inducing meal for tigers.”
The Story: The Sundarbans is the largest contiguous mangrove forest and one of the last strongholds of the Royal Bengal Tiger, and yet so little is actually known about this majestic predator and its home eco-system. Poaching and encroachment are also very real threats as many of the people who live at the forest’s edge live on the very knife-edge of poverty. Potential articles should illuminate the precious wildnerness that is the Sundarbans; and incite visitors to protect this extraordinary place with the tides and the tigers still rule.
River World: Bangladesh’s Water Landscapes
Bangladesh lies at the very heart of the Ganges River Delta, and its people have a long history of living on the water. During the monsoon season over half the country goes underwater; the line between land and water becomes decidedly indistinct. With the popularising of the climate change debate, Bangladesh is now held up as an example of a country that will soon be underwater; millions would be forced from their homes and livelihoods.
The Story: Despite the pressure of the rising tides, Bangladeshi people have long been living half on the water and half on the land. Its boat building traditions have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Today, there are floating hospitals and floating schools and the future of Bangladesh sees it adapting to its so-called fate as a victim of climate change.
A feature article would include interviews with several key personalities involved in promoting Bangladesh’s river beauty to the rest of the world and showcasing the ways that this country is adapting to the era of climate change.
Volunteer Tourism: The Power of Positive Change
Bangladesh has come a long way in the four decades since its birth, but there’s still a long way to go. Despite the fact that Bangladesh has managed to lift millions out of extreme poverty, an extraordinary birth rate has meant that millions more have been born into conditions of extreme poverty. And when the floods and the cyclones sweep through — sometimes twice in one year — the effects are devastating on those who have no safety net, let alone things normally taken for granted like electricity or clean water.
The Story: Despite the doom and gloom, this is a situation not without hope, or without the potential for positive change. The opportunity to literally walk in the steps of Gandhi and Mother Theresa still exists here; Bangladeshi people eagerly welcome those who wish to come and work in the field of development and aid. With a longer stay there’s a magnificent opportunity to see the story behind the horrible headlines.
Potential articles would highlight some of the best volunteer experiences in the country while also setting expectations for potential proponents of positive change.
The National Assembly Building: A Modern Day Taj Mahal
Anyone who’s travelled to Dhaka knows that on most days, the city throbs with stuttering noise and steamy clamour. But what most visitors often miss is the stunning oasis of peace and harmony that is the National Assembly Building, located in the heart of the massive megacity. The landmark building took 23 years to build, coincidentally the same amount of time it took to build the Taj Mahal. Designed by American master architect Louis I. Kahn, it is widely acknowledged to be his best work.
The Story: Louis I. Kahn was an American architect born to impoverished parents of Estonian and Jewish origin. A combination of brilliant creativity and lucid eccentricity resulted in his distinctly modern style of architecture, one that is instantly recognisable throughout his work. Kahn didn’t even live to see his master creation finished in Bangladesh, but the building and its creator are still totally revered among Bangladeshi people.
Potential articles would shed light on the private life of Lou Kahn and tell the story of the building’s troubled construction, including its survival through the 1971 Liberation War. It will also feature quotes from his illegitimate son Nathaniel Kahn, who created a moving documentary about the relationship he shared with his father. Photographs can be sourced from Louis Kahn Dhaka, a stunning collection of photographs showing the beauty of the building.