Today was our first day working at the Dharavi slums. We had a veggie snack at our favourite restaurant of idli and accompaniments. Yum. Then we began to walk towards the Dharavi area with lots of little street sellers to tempt us. lots of tuk tuks stopped to offer us a ride as apparently no one walks in this heat! We took a tuk tuk to the Dharavi area and were met by Anoul who offered to show us around the recycling area of the slums. We felt really privileged to be able to have the opportunity to see inside the slums. They are the largest in the world and home to thousands of men, women and children.
The many enterprising industries are hidden behind wooden walls and work tirelessly day and night upcycling, recycling and making money from crafts. We met a man who recycled plastics and tetra paks from all over the world and melted them down to form a fabricated board that can be made into doors, bed frames, fencing. He has been running the business for over 20 years and was so very proud of what he had achieved. Nothing goes to waste here, he said. Dharavi recycles everything. The slums are like a well oiled engine where every part comes together for a perfect industrious machine. From the slums we went to the community centre to run our workshop with the women and children of Dharavi. They chatted and laughed as they made prayer flags with us and this level of social engagement is an important part of our project. Bringing communities together to be creative and socially engaged. The group made some wonderful flags, many had existing skills and were able to create some wonderful pieces. We discussed another project called "I Am" where the group will make fabric handprints and embellish them with words that describe themselves. They will arrange the hands in a circular pattern around the "I Am" written in the middle. I'm excited to see how they get on over the next few months. The plan is to exhibit the piece later in the year in Mumbai. After finishing we had a slightly terrifying tuk tuk ride for 1 hour 45 mins. Mis-communication meant that the driver took us out of Mumbai to another region. When we saw mountains we realised something was wrong ! It should have only taken 20 mins. So, exhausted, back at the hotel we grabbed a hotel meal then off for bed! I think that tuk tuk must have been running on fumes as I'm sure they are not meant to run for that long!