Dharavi: the Heart of Mumbai

Where do I start? Walking into the slum of Dharavi, Mumbai was an experience.  We were welcomed with colour. Skepticism and uncertainty rushed through me as we entered a world that was littered with trash and compacted with people.  In the eyes of the beholders the trash was opportunity. Every item that was thrown out was shifted through, sorted and reclaimed to create items that were sold across India and America. We stood on the corrugated rooftop where every space was utilized to maximize productivity.  The workers were dedicated and focused working diligently with little to no protection.  Aluminum was melted in a tank top, gloves and sandals. The glow of the fire and streams of sunlight were the only illumination required to perform the necessary task.  The compact maze of buildings had an interior pathway system that was a feat to navigate and even our native tour guide, Fahim, still got lost from time to time. The slum was divided logically by industry (clay, metal, plastic, cardboard, textiles etc.) with housing in its own division. Our two-hour came to an end and an amazing adventure that started with cautious steps ended with cricket bats and dancing, as we engaged with the amazing locals.