It was our second time in India and we will be back for sure. We can all learn a lot by visiting there, and if you do, you must go with an open mind, you have to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone, you must listen carefully to understand what they are saying, not be judgemental and, most importantly, lighten up. I guarantee that you will learn heaps from them. They are some of the most innovative & creative people …it is really something to see. They are prepared to work hard, often in terrible conditions, but you don’t ever hear them complain…they are just so grateful to have a job.
While we were in Mumbai we had the opportunity to go on a tour of the Dharavi slums, which is 1.75sq kilometre in size and home to over 1 million people. I tell you it was very humbling, as well as being one of the biggest learning experiences I have ever had. These people were some of the most innovative, industrious & community minded that I have ever met and who could teach us all a thing or two…they were running every sort of business that you could think from recycling plastic, making clay pots, doing specialty block printing on fabric and even a bakery with a wood fired oven that were supplying a specialty type of bread to many of the 5 star hotels & guest houses in Mumbai.
We went into some of the people’s homes which were tiny, made out of scrap tin & timber, and were very clean & tidy. All the kids were happy and playing together…we were even invited to play some cricket with them, which we did and they were heaps better than us!
The tour is run by a group called Reality Tours, with 80% of the profits from the tours going to charity. To be respectful to the people who live there, they ask you not to take any photos on the tour, but you can check out Dharavi Slums Mumbai on Google or www.realitytoursandtravel.com which has lots of articles and photos to look at.
I would have to say that this was one of the highlights of my trip to India, and probably one of the biggest lessons I learned was to be grateful that we do live in the lucky country. We often become blind to all the opportunities we have in Australia, we need to have an attitude of gratitude.