A Chennai Slum

A woman with her child amidst a pile of washing, surrounded by the usual garbage of a slum.

Some of the more permanent buildings around tiny dirt alleys.

Our presence attracted a following of the kids of the slum.

This woman appears astonished to be suddenly the center of attention.

Prof. Ananthanarayanan, Director of WCPA Asia Office, here shows his fondness of kids.

Moving to the parts of the slum with less substantial, bamboo wall buildings and even smaller alleys.

Cots out of doors (left) and low tents begin to show up on the edges of the slum.

Woman everywhere in this part of the world wear these colorful garments, which may be one of two such garments that they own.

These hanging cloths are for privacy in the latrines of this part of the slum.

Some live in tents. In the foreground are the branches and sticks that are used for cooking fuel everywhere in the third world. The bridge that looms over the slum is in the background.

This bridge, under which the slum partly intrudes, crosses this shallow river.  Every year during monsoon season, the river floods and wipes out the entire slum that we have just seen photos of. The residents told us they retreat to the local elementary school until the water resides and then come back to rebuild and reclaim their few possessions.

Another slum across the river that is also flooded every year. These difficult circumstances are common throughout the third world.  People who have no place to live and cling to the margins of existence, without healthcare, education, sanitation, or hope.

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June 2008

(While in Chennai, I visited one of the many slums along with several WCPA members)

These women had just finished changing the baby on the cot between them.

Another typical "street" or alley of the slum.

This woman is rightly wary of a westerner coming through taking photos.

Throughout the slum, much of the cooking is done outdoors on the ground in the alleys.

This woman, surrounded by her cooking pots, smiles because she knows her photo is being taken. It may well be the first photo ever taken of her.

Like elsewhere in the third world, rain is kept out by thatched roofs and plastic sheeting.

This woman has a tiny store in the front of her shanty.

Everywhere, kids are the same: full of life and curiosity.

A woman sits alone in her doorway.

This naked young boy demonstrates his prowess at pumping from the common well of the slum.

Dogs search through the ever present garbage.