Enlisting in the military is one of the only career paths that promises food on the table and a small chance of a decent life for you or your family. Getting in is not so easy, you must have the right connections, and a lot of luck. If the rights strings get pulled, you have a chance to become an officer and make sure that grass is not the main ingredient in the family dinner.
The officers’ class is extremely secretive which is what makes this photo so rare.
Due to the fact that 90% of North Koreans are too poor to go to the grocery store, many have resorted to eating anything they can find on the ground including scraps, rats, birds and even grass and leaves.
This behavior is so widely spread that the North Korean government has actually put out a cookbook on what types of grasses and leaves are the tastiest, and how eating all of those greens all the time isn’t so bad and might even be healthy. Although admittedly, if you have gotten to the point that you are eating grass, things have probably gotten pretty bad.
The eternal president
One of the craziest things about North Korea is that they consider their leaders to be divine and therefore their religion is actually their leaders. In fact, the eternal president of the republic is a man named Kim Il Sung, who has been dead for almost 25 years! Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un, the son and grandson of the “dear leader” Kim Il Sung are the country’s prophets.
That is why the people in the picture are bowing to these giant statues – they are actually praying to them!
This photo shows a group of North Korean construction workers in Pyongyang on the way to their worksite. The North Korean leadership makes a point of broadcasting the modernity their country has achieved, with no outside help, and visitor tours focus on Pyongyang’s booming construction.
However, not all is as it seems. North Korea has very few skilled architects and qualified craftsman, and their work crews survive mostly on grass. No wonder so few of the new buildings are suitable for habitation.
Many cities offer guided tours to visitors, with explanations by the tour guide but also a chance to explore on your own. This is not the case in North Korea.
All sightseeing tours are organized by the regime. Even the people you are allowed to meet have been vetted by the state. And if you have accidentally wandered off, get ready to get to know your tour guide much better. There is a good chance that you two will be cellmates because both wandering off and losing a tourist are punishable by a jail sentence!