“Thank you very much!”, said the trainees in my GMP for Food Safety workshop in Bangladesh when I attempted to greet them with “Assalamu Alaikum.” That’s exactly how friendly people are in this lovely country with beautiful agriculture land. While the traffic on the road is second to none, i.e., everyone in the country is moving yet very slowly, the vibrant momentum is apparent in every corner of the city, the small isles in a town, and farmers in the field. Not a single person is sitting around doing nothing. Everyone is trying so hard to make the best out of their day. I was impressed by how the company I assisted declared their mission as “Poverty and hunger are curses. Our aim: To generate employment and earn dignity and self-respect for our compatriots through profitable enterprises.” The spirit is clearly reflected by the fact that more than 75% of workers at their Natore factory are female. If it weren’t for the job opportunity at the factory, the ladies most likely would work as a servant and barely make their ends meet. I am grateful for the opportunity coordinated by Winrock to provide my expertise in food processing and food safety to assist the company to carry out their mission. Not only was the experience rewarding and enjoyable, but it also enabled me to see every sector of the food processing industry in Bangladesh. It will only take me one split second to say yes to future opportunities to visit again.
–Dr. Martin Lo, volunteer with Winrock International’s USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program in Bangladesh