A symbol of struggle for survival
With an indomitable spirit and unwavering determination, Pushpa Rani has been continuing struggle to cope with her extreme poverty that she has inherited from her parents as well as visually challenged husband.
If you ever go to a floating market at Bhimruli village in Jhalakathi, you will see the 35-year-old woman rowing a boat loaded with guava with her visually impaired husband Sumontho Samadder.
Hundreds of tourists visit the place everyday to enjoy the scenic beauty of the market and its surrounding landscape, said locals.
A number of small boats loaded with guavas, hog plums and other agricultural products gather on the Bhimruli canal from dawn. Traders sell those to the wholesalers who turn up from across the country.
Pushpa leased a guava orchard from her neighbour for Tk 6,000 for a season to support her five-member family. Usually, the peak season for the fruit is from mid-July to first-week of August.
Pushpa said she herself takes care of her guava garden regularly while others do it by engaging labourers.
She collects guavas early in the morning from her garden. After returning home, she prepares breakfast for her husband Sumontho and three children and then goes to the floating market by a small boat to sell the fruits.
Sumontho lost his eyesight in a road accident over 12 years ago.
Sumontho said after losing his eyes, he married poor Pushpa Rani of Teota village in Banaripara upazila of Barisal as he was looking for such a woman as wife who can take his as well as his family's responsibility.
When asked why she married a visually impaired man, Pushpa said she had no alternative but to marry Sumontho as she hailed from a poor family. But she is now happy with her husband and children, Pushpa said, adding that anyone can lose eyesight anytime.
She said two years ago her 10-year-old daughter Pinki left the school to take care of her two other siblings as she cannot manage time for them.
During the peak season, she earned a profit of Tk 8,000 to 10,000 from selling guava but it is too little to lead her livelihood, said Pushpa.
She said if she gets financial support from the government to lease two or three more guava orchards it would help continue her business and lead her family smoothly.
Pushpa Rani was talking to this correspondent while rowing her boat to a floating market at Bhimruli village.