Day 117: Near Sylhet, Bangladesh
In the West all this would be done by machines and conveyor belts: in Bangladesh, human labour is abundant and cheap. For a day's work collecting stones, unskilled workers earn the equivalent of 70 pence.
To survive in such unregulated conditions you need an eye for the main chance and while the boatmen are arguing over who gets the BBC's custom, a bright-eyed, obliging young man seizes his opportunity and offers me a ride out onto the river. It's only after the smoke-belching little outboard has kicked in and we're heading towards a very low, makeshift bridge with ten-tonne trucks rolling across it that I first take a good look at my crew. The captain is probably no more than 14 and his first officer 8 at the most.
Choose another day from Himalaya
- Series: Himalaya
- Chapter: Day 117: Near Sylhet, Bangladesh
- Country/sea: Bangladesh
- Place: Sylhet
- Book page no: 263
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