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Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, is smaller than the states of Illinois or Washington. Its estimated population, however, is close to half that of the entire United States.

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Generally about one-third of the land is flooded annually, some years as much as two-thirds is under water during the rainy season. Dense population, flooding, and water-born diseases combine to make life miserable for thousands.

Travel is slow and rough. City streets are crowded with rickshaws, taxis, buses, trucks, animals, and people.  About 60% of the roads are paved, but traveling on many of them is still a jarring experience.

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Other transportation available includes rail and water. Navigable waterways vary between 5,202 miles during the monsoons to 3,231 miles during the dry season.

The most prevalent religion is Muslim--estimates vary between 83 to 88 per cent. Christian and Animists make up about 1% with the remainder being Hindus.

Many people in the villages speak their own dialects. When the children go to school, they learn Bangla, the official language of Bangladesh, and English.

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