THAY CHAUNG – Anuar Begum’s baby boy is just 4 days old and hasn’t been named yet, but the 22-year-old first-time mother is already thinking four weeks ahead. That’s when heavy rain and storms will begin to blow in from the Bay of Bengal into Rakhine State, bringing the threat of water-borne diseases for the almost 140,000 Rohingya, who, like Anuar Begum, live in camps in this bedeviled region in western Myanmar. “We are worried about the baby. We are IDPs [internally displaced persons] and there is no doctor in our camp,” she said, perched on the edge of the same rusty-framed bed where she gave birth 4 days back, inside a government clinic outside Sittwe, the regional capital of Rakhine State.
VIENTIANE — Every Wednesday, Sengphachan Phommaxay wakes at 4 a.m. and heads across town to the That Luang market in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. There she meets a truckload of papaya, onions and pumpkins dispatched that morning from her family’s 32 acre farm, which sits 20 miles outside Vientiane in green, sun-dappled countryside close to the Mekong River. As the sun comes up and orange-clad monks plod barefoot around the funereal Vientiane streets seeking alms, the 23-year-old business student gets in some hands-on practice for life after graduation — selling the family’s produce at Vientiane’s main organic market. “10,000 kip for one kilo,” or $1.25 for just over two pounds, says Ms. Sengphachan, a student at the Lao American College, when asked how much the papaya costs.
KOLKATA/CALCUTTA — Multinational businesses such as IBM and Vodafone have offices nearby, a five-star Marriott hotel is going up on the main airport road — all within walking distance of pricey pastel apartment blocks that look like Legoland in the hazy sun-baked distance. Half-built condos, still encased in scaffolding, are shooting up all overin eastern Kolkata and will be serviced by a new metro line linked to the airport. But a mile or so away from the Marriott site is Kolkata dhapa, or rubbish dump, a vast, decades-old hill of plastic, rubber, tin and old clothes, perhaps 10-12 acres in area and 60ft-70ft high.