Worm Chasing In Bangladesh April 2014

Tiger toilets need Tiger worms – or a closely related species with the same taste for waste organic matter.  For the SanMark City Project in Dhaka our friends in ICCO-Cooperation and iDE had identified a possible source of worms but from their photographs we were not quite sure if they were the right species. They were being used to process cattle dung into vermicompost so that was encouraging. Another look seemed in order, this time taking Claire’s handy worm guide … and so it was that Sajia, Hema, Sarwar and myself found ourselves in a car very early one morning heading out of Dhaka for Jamalpur in the north of Bangladesh.

Leaving Dhaka at first the roads were unusually quiet: we passed through the Savar district then reached a major bus station where buses, cars, people and rickshaws were all edging their way assertively to squeeze through the gaps. “It’s OK so long as you don’t actually touch the car in front…” I was told. Then it was out into open country, rice fields and small farms, then more towns and brick works, power stations and people going to work at the start of a new day.

First stop breakfast – paratha and omelette, which was delicious. Kids were queuing for the school bus, looking very smart in their uniforms. The roads were excellent, and though the overtaking rules were a little different from the UK  there always seemed to be just enough room to get past. Then we stopped at a sweet shop, the best in Bangladesh with a wonderful source of water according to Sarwar, and sampled Chhena and Cham Cham which were delightful…but very sweet.

Back in the car we passed through more open countryside and eventually arrived into Jamalpur which sits on the banks of the Brahmaputra river. There we were directed to the offices of the Sajida Foundation, who have helped local farmers to set up vermicomposting operations. With them as guides we visited one such farm where we were shown the two main types of worm they use  …. more photographs, this time with a ruler for scale, and looking at their behaviour and colours, taking careful notes. One of them had a definite yellow sac at its tail which is a good sign of the Tiger worm or its close relative E.Andrei .  A quick check on availability and shipment times and then it was back in the car for the return trip home.

Thanks to our incredible driver, who had to contend with a thunderstorm and huge hailstones on the way back,we finally made it safely back to Dhaka about 10.30 pm having left at 6 am. So quite a day …. but worth it to know that we had found a supply of worms for our pilot toilets. 

Worm bins on a farm near Jamalpur and Community with the visitors 


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