A Chinese phrase advises that you “borrow a corpse for the
soul’s return.” This metaphor points to the fact that we tend not to dig
through garbage. Once we’ve thrown something away we mentally label it “trash”
and so we stop wondering if it is still useful.
When I pull up to the village in which my mother grew up in
Bangladesh, I feel like I'm on the set of a cowboy movie. Two long streets
cross in the center, each bordered by a well-planned lineup of storefronts.
From this intersection, you might think this is a city, with
concrete walls, paved roads, and running water. But peer beyond the
intersection of storefronts and there is nothing more than a patchwork of small
farm plots, separated by dirt pathways and grass-roofed huts.