Well, my friends, today’s picture is a bit tougher to take. This was shot in the first slum we visited…in Hyderabad, India. I wish that I could say that this was the worst that we saw, but that wouldn’t be true. I would have to say that this slum was about middle of the pack as far as what we witnessed. I had never really thought about it, but had always just sort of assumed that a “slum is a slum is a slum.” Sadly, that’s not true, as you’ll see in some future pictures. At least in this slum, most of the slum dwellers had concrete structures to live in that had cement floors.
The monsoon season had started the week before we got there, and there had been some rain, though most people were saying that they needed a lot more…apparently rain has been scarce. But in this picture, you’ll see there was a large puddle of water in the dirt road, and the man on the scooter to the right of the picture had just passed through it.
The dogs (and horrifically, people) could be seen scavenging from the piles of refuse. Some were looking for food. Others were looking for plastic bottles or scraps of metal or wood that perhaps they could resell to try to get some money. By and large, the people who lived in these slums were all Dalits (previously known as “untouchables”).
The worst slum we saw was in Bangalore and was known as the Mudfort Slum. I’ll share some pictures of that in the future, but I wanted to start off with a slum picture that wasn’t “so bad.” Children would wander the slums barefoot, oblivious to the disease and filth that was on the ground. There were smells that weren’t all that pleasant, either. Such is the plight of many of the Indian Dalits. They need help, but their culture must change, and the way that most of them think about themselves must change, too. They need to come to believe that they can be something, that they have value and worth, that they can have a better life. It’s possible in India, but it takes courage and lots of hard work…
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1862, the siege of Vicksburg started. The city would finally surrender on the same day that the Battle of Gettysburg concluded, July 4, 1863. U.S. Grant was the commanding general of the siege.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the FDA encourages pregnant women to avoid soft cheeses that may contain the bacteria, Listeria, which can be harmful to unborn children.