The Garo people are said to be originally from Tibet, where they have fled difficult living conditions. They were considered savages and lived in inhospitable forests. Their history has remained relatively confidential because of their oral tradition. They migrated to North East India and Bangladesh where they are today.
Originally animists, at least 80% of them are today Christians. They celebrate Christmas in color.
I discovered them through my work with the NGO Eau et Vie in Dhaka. I spent a few weeks in a colleague's family village, Garo, in northern Bangladesh, not far from the Indian border. Their destitution is striking and their dependence on the abundance of crops weakens them. Those working in the tea fields further east have access to a fixed but extremely modest income. They also suffer from many diseases linked to the chemicals used in the plantations of multinational tea companies, where they live and where they work without protection.
For those who live in the north, rice and pig farming are the main means of livelihood. They are also counting on those who have gone to work in the capital to support them. At Christmas time we also find this clash between the modernity of the city and the simplicity of the countryside. City dwellers who have managed to find a job providing a decent income come back with their smartphones and tablets and take pictures of mud houses. They also take advantage of the small solar panels that they have been able to finance for their family back in the village to recharge them before going to draw water from the well by hand.