What do we really know about the lives of people in slums? We may see it from the outside, we even may go in for a tour and try to get a grasp of the culture, we may watch movies like Slumdog Millionaire but how accurate is all that information? How much can we really understand about the daily ongoing.
This YouTube vlogger, Jacob Laukaitis had a similar feeling when he first came to Mumbai and visited the slums for two days. He left with more questions than answers and hence decided to stay there for five days during his next India trip.
Two and a half years ago after visiting the area he decided that he must go back again in order to look at things from a closer perspective. After coming to Dharavi, one of the world’s largest slums, he decided to dedicate five days to only living and understanding the people there.
Talking about the experience, he said,
“This experience opened my eyes in ways I couldn’t have imagined, because I got to spend so much time with the local people, who completely transformed my outlook on what their lives were like.”
He puts the most obvious kind of point across, saying that from the outside (and especially for a foreigner) the slum can seem very distorted. He added that from a far people think that people there will be dying on the streets, be uneducated and kids may have to “sleep surrounded by flesh-eating rats”. However, it was not so.
Jacob does point that they are a lot of concerns in the area especially when it comes to sanitation.
In the slums a lot of people seem to have a different take on enviromental protection that I like to call: "Just throw it" – every time you are left with a piece of #trash, you throw it. My friend took me to some man-made water ponds that were surrounded by beautiful #nature. Initially it looked really nice, but the deeper we went in, the more dirty it became. Eventually there was so much trash I couldn't see the ground under my feet – I was literally walking on trash. As much as I came to love #India and its people, I wish they cherished their environment a little more. There are very few countries in the world where you can find such magnificent sights as you can find here – why not treasure it and protect it?
He says that one of the study says that in Dharavi there is an average of 1 toilet for a thousand people. That’s pretty scary right?! He was even shocked that livestock generally lives in the same small quarters as the people and the local water sources lack basic cleaning facilities. Both these combined could lead to the spread of contagious diseases.
But putting all this aside, he says that the people are the same as anywhere else. They come with their own goals, careers, thoughts and emotions. Talking about the superficial differences between us, he said,
I just came back to one of the coolest places in the world – the slums of #Mumbai. The first time I visited was a year and a half ago, but that time I didn't have a place to stay inside the slums. This time, however, I'm being hosted by some wonderful locals and will be living with them for the next 5 days. I'm extremely excited to be here, because I'll be able to find out a lot more about what it's like living in the largest #slums in all of Asia. Wish me luck! 😊🙏
Very rightly said, these things on the surface don’t define us. It’s what is on the inside that really counts.
Watch his entire vlog here:
Sometimes we need to put ourselves in others shoes to understand what it actually means. Deep down, we’re all humans, with insecurities, joys, bonds and difficulties. That’s what makes us stick together.
h/t: Bored Panda