If you chance to visit Meherpur – a remote village in Bangladesh – you may come across a lanky American national in local attire who has made the country his home for the past 12 years
If you chance to visit Meherpur – a remote village in Bangladesh – you may come across a lanky American national in local attire who has made the country his home for the past 12 years. A petroleum engineer, Chris Hoggle is in love with the lush green village in Jessore district and has now taken to organic farming with plans to export the chemical fertilizer-free vegetables and fruits to the US.
Meet Rahima Khatun, a gutsy Bangladeshi woman from Meherpur, who has overcome the travails of migration, grinding poverty and a broken marriage, her first husband having deserted her when she was a mother of three children.
Rahima and Hoggle are now united in love. They met on a beautiful Mumbai evening 12 springs ago, Cupid stuck immediately, and they tied the knot after six months.
The couple can be seen cultivating paddy themselves in their field and share all household chores. They are setting up a multipurpose modern agricultural farm on a 1.25-hectare plot of land which will have a variety of fruit trees, vegetables – all cultivated using advanced scientific methods.
Hoggle hails from Michigan state of the US and has adapted very well to Bangladeshi culture. He has also converted to Islam and is now known as Ayub Hossain.
Before settling down in Bangladesh, he worked in India’s commercial capital Mumbai as a petroleum engineer at Reliance Natural Resources Company owned by business tycoon Anil Ambani.
After marriage, they returned to Meherpur, Rahima's ancestral village. They are building a four-story house by the bank of the Kopotakkho river and Hoggle plans to bring his mother and children from an earlier marriage to Meherpur once the house is complete.
Rahima migrated to India with her parents at an early age due to severe poverty. She was married off at 13 in West Bengal's Barasat area in North 24 Parganas district and has three children from the marriage. But her husband deserted her after selling all the property. Then she moved to Mumbai.
But now she is very happy with Chris. “He is honest and transparent,” she is quoted as saying in Bangladesh media that has chronicled the unusual rural couple.
Her children from her previous marriage – now all grown-ups - live with them.
Besides, his organic farming venture, Hoggle does fish cultivation as well. Once a petroleum engineer, he is now an accomplished farmer and can work relentlessly in the field and has honed all the skills of a farmer. His hobbies include reading books and visiting places on his motorcycle.
Hoggle has traveled to many countries in the world, but wants to spend the rest of his life in Bangladesh. The lush green natural beauty and the radiant yellow color of mustard fields of Bangladesh attract him very much, according to The Daily Star.