The first thing most people ask when we tell them we’re moving to Bangladesh is “Is it safe there?”
Generally, yes, it is. Although over the past several weeks, months even, there have been a number of hartals.
Hartals, from what I understand, are political protests or strikes that occur when the government does something unpopular, and sometimes they can turn violent. When there is a hartal in Dhaka, the embassy community is told to stay in the diplomatic zone and not to walk around at night. There are other precautions that I’m sure we’ll learn more about when we get there.
When we decided to rank Dhaka “high” on our bid list, we knew about the possibility of hartals. All things considered, the possibility of political strikes in a city that, otherwise, meets all our criteria for an amazing post, wasn’t enough to deter us. And we don’t regret this decision.
We have to accept a certain amount of risk in our lives just so we can live as human beings and do the things we want to do. I realize I could get hit by a car, which is why I look both ways when I cross the street. I could get in a car accident (been there, done that… twice), so I drive carefully and wear my seatbelt.
Last week, on the metro, a yellow line train travelling to Huntington got stuck in a tunnel due to some sort of electrical fire, passengers were instructed not to evacuate, the train cars filled with smoke, and a woman from Alexandria died. If this incident had happened literally two hours later, I probably would have been on that train.
All of this is to say that life can be dangerous no matter where you are. We try to maximize our safety while also doing the things that we love. The hunger to explore new places and experience different cultures is a huge part of who both Nate and I are. We did, after all, meet each other while we were serving in the Peace Corps. And we are so excited to continue our journey in Bangladesh, hartals or not.