We loaded into four-wheel drive vehicles early this morning for a ride through Cyclone Sidr-affected rice fields and across many streams and rivers to the village of Morelganj. Today we witnessed the access to food and the access to education for a community struggling to get back on its feet. I talked with men waiting in line to receive food baskets from WFP, a group of elderly women still emotional when they spoke of Cyclone Sidr, and children who receive fortified biscuits to improve their school attendance.
My impression from these conversations is that people devastated by the reach of the cyclone are using every resource available to rebuild communities, restore their homes, and prepare for the future, yet significant need remains. Ultimate success in recovery lies with the people and the supporting organizations that currently provide assistance.
We capped the day back in Khulna with a song and dance presentation by the USAID-supported theatrical group Rupantar. Rupantar means "transformation" in the local language of Bangla. The songs and dances are a medium through which talented young actors, singers, and musicians convey social messages on issues like civic pride and natural disaster preparedness. They urge communities to be aware of their problems and culture, and work together towards sustainable development.
Time to rest up for a long drive tomorrow.