Bangladesh is a place of major corruption. It’s something we deal with daily. See the man above wearing the sun glasses? He is a police officer, and claimed (incorrectly) that policemen were exempt from paying bus fares. The bearded conductor (pictured) tried his best to convince the man to pay just like every other person had to. But this man, due to his connections with the powerful, refused to pay.

It’s like this across the board in this country. People who have completed Masters in Theology steal money for personal gain from Christian projects. Bribes to get work permits are expected. My friends tell me of how they are expected to pay a huge sum to get a job. The one who comes up with the sum of money first lands the job, not the one who is most qualified. I have seen with my own eyes people slipping money to airport officials when they were detained right before getting on the plane. If you want your enemy to go to jail, you just have to pay a small sum of half a month’s day laborer’s salary. If you want to get out of jail, then another little sum will do the trick.

When Jacob was teaching a Christian NGO’s staff recently, quite a few people cheated in the tests. He warned them, rebuked them, reminded them . . but they insisted on copying from each other. Jacob was disturbed by that behavior, so he wrote it in his report. The NGO staff came to Jacob’s operations manager and asked him to change the report as it was going to go to overseas donors. Just the other day, Jacob was asked to make a bookmark for the NGO condemning corruption, so this was the submission:

That these staff cheat in tiny unimportant photography tests should not be that surprising or disturbing, as this is their cultural blind spot. And we Westerners have MANY blind spots too. Like . . we don’t offer hospitality, we don’t practice modesty, we don’t invest time into relationships. (Ouch!) If only cultures could talk together and change!

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