Bamboo is the basic building material in rural Bangladesh. It comes in all sizes, thick and slender, short and long. Flatbed trucks have bamboo layered horizontally five metres high, with stouter stems fixed vertically at the edges to keep the load from sliding off.
There are stockpiles at the side of the road. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered tuk-tuks transport smaller quantities to building sites. Men carry bamboo on their heads into the more remote parts of the camp.
Others squat on their haunches to split thinner staves into thin strips, then plaiting them into fences, walls or screening panels.
It is ubiquitous. Perhaps that is why it causes so many medical problems. People fall onto sharpened bamboo staves, causing serious lacerations and penetrating eye injuries. Even worse, a bamboo pole fell from a truck and pierced the windpipe of a pedestrian, exiting through the top of his lung. Incredibly, this person survived thanks to prompt action at our hospital and transfer to Memorial Christian Hospital by ambulance.