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These typical street scenes are the first thing one sees in India. For the full effect, we would include the heat and humidity, the smells of sweat, coconut oil, diesel exhaust, curry, and sewage, and the constant noise of honking horns and traffic.
We spent three weeks in the Chennai area, joining a team from several
California churches involved in various ministries with local churches.
Here, Luke hangs with children from the slums at the "vacation Bible school" where
we spent much of our time.
Two rivers flow through Chennai, both lined with shantytowns down to the water's
edge. The rivers are filled with raw sewage and industrial waste.
During the tsunami, the rivers backed up 10 feet high, flooding the squatters' homes.
The owners pay rent to illegal landlords.
|One of every six people on the earth live is what is defined as "extreme poverty", struggling to meet basic food and shelter needs. Over 30% of them are in India (the rest primarily in Africa). In Chennai, hundreds of thousands of people are "pavement-dwellers", sleeping on the sidewalks. Remarkably, they largely consist of intact families with both parents and often children working (for very low wages).|