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Our tour continues in the real India. Today we go to the discovery of the slum of Mumbai because beyond the tunnels and the labyrinths there is always a glimmer of sun.
Our tour of India (in this post I told you what to see) continues to discover the slum of Mumbai because beyond the tunnels and labyrinths there is always a glimmer of sunshine.
The slum is located on the outskirts of Mumbai, the most populous Indian city and financial heart of the subcontinent, and covers an area of about 1.7 square kilometers in which more than 1 million people live.
Originally a fishing village, just in the days when we visited it the government decreed that it would like to transform this settlement into a modern satellite city equipped with the basic services but as explained to us by our life guide for the population of the slum of Mumbai is perfectly balanced. Why change it?
“This tour – explains our guide to the Inside Mumbai Tour – will make you change your mind about slums: it is not where poor people, bandits, beggars live. Here is everything: school, shops, doctors, houses, work. It’s a five-star slum. You’ll see. ”
Our tour of the slum of Mumbai starts, we are on our way. My eyes begin to fill with emotions as well as my heart.
On the street live the real poor: those who sleep, cook, eat, pack baskets and wash pots between pavements and asphalt. But they smile, they are happy, they live.
It starts with the recycling of plastic. “The workers come from the villages, they earn 120-150 rupees a day (2 euros) for 10-12 hours of work.”
It is collected, crushed and pressed by a machine from which noodles-like strips come out. Then it is washed and turned into pallets of various colors to end up in factories and become chairs, toys, various objects.
Let’s go where we recycle paint cans: they get back into shape, they wash, they burn inside and they are referred to factories.
The smoke is whitish. Liquid residues end up in the water. Maybe they go to the sewage treatment plant. Maybe. From time to time, glimpses of light and kitchen aromas come from the maze of streets. Mothers prepare lunch, soap their children, knead papad. Here and there goats, cats and chickens. Running water and electricity are available 24 hours a day.
Outside the kids are ready for school: divided, washed and perfumed, girls with braids and red bows.
More than 80% of children go to school. There are three types: private where English is taught, necessary to enter the University, with a very high fee; state that teaches in Hindi and is free and NGO schools that teach in English and are free.
“Dharavi teaches you to be happy with what you have. We know we could have more but we have no expectations and we are fine “. He repeats it, quoting Shakespeare: “I was crying because I didn’t have shoes, then I turned and saw a man without feet.”