Yesterday we took a trip to the Dhobi Ghat and the Dharavi
The Dhobi Ghat is a 140 year old human powered laundry where
everyday hundreds of men beat the dirst out of clothes and linens in 1026 open
The workers also live here with their families, between the
railway and the main road.
We then went on to visit the Dharavi slum which was certainly
not the bad experience that we had prepared ourselves for.
The bustling streets were full of activity, there were
endless small businesses recycling rubbish, tanning hides, making clothes,
ironing and selling their wares.
School children on their way to school were pristine in
their neat school uniforms and there was very much a sense of community.
The people, especially the children, wanted to say hello and
their were no beggars.
The slums incorporate 1.75 kilometres of land sandwiched between
Mumbai’s major two railway lines and is home to one million people.
While it may look a shamble from the outside, the maze of
dusty alleys and sewer lined streets are actually a collection of settlements
with homes and tiny factories and businesses.
Some of these thriving industries export their wares and the
annual turnover of business from the Dhavari slums is around 650 million US
Many of the families have been here for generations and some
of the younger residents are white collar workers who choose to stay in the
area they were bought up.
The pipe lines that featured in the film ‘Slumdog
Rubbish everywhere – but when you enter the slums you begin
to see that rubbish is big business. Inside the tiny factories there are people
sorting the rubbish into trays and there are workshops everywhere recyclying
plastic, aluminium, old shoes etc etc.
The goats graze and clear out any food stuff amongst the rubbish
and they are also a good source of milk and meat.
We could certainly learn a lot about recycling from these
There were no photos allowed – however you can see
below the rubbish on the streets where we parked and the photo beside shows a
plastic recycling ‘plant’.
These people are also doing the city a huge service by
taking in the rubbish and sorting it.
The people were preparing for a religious festival starting
tomorrow, hence the flags flying everywhere. Below street vendors sell their
wares and a cart of hides is wheeled through the streets.
Lots of homes are up steep steps above the business premises
and the rest are in a maze of tiny alleyways with the main sewer running
through the centre – you have to be careful of loose drain covers !
Within the narrow alleyways you can find the local butcher,
corner shop and even somewhere to iron your clothes.
On the way home we came across lots of migrant workers living
between the road and the railway lines, they come to Mumbai for the high season
Below you can see basket weavers and people sorting herbs
for market alongside families eating bowls of steaming rice.