Building a slum on the Orinoco Delta?

 

By Gala

I agree with Lara about the tropical climate being a terrible problem for slum dwellers, the speed at which waste decomposes in tropical climates is outstanding and this inevitably attracts insects and rodents, which transmit diseases that obviously affect the less fortunate the most.

A couple of years ago I travelled to the Orinoco Delta in Venezuela, where my mother is from. Here the Warao Indians live in wooden houses on the river, there are no roads and everything comes and goes by the rives on boats. For the Warao people waste used to be mainly organic, so they would dump it all into the river and carry on with their lives. But when they gained access to the non-organic bottled products and began to dispose of them as they did with the organic ones, they began to live literally on top of waste. This produced a terrible outbreak of Cholera, Thypod, Malaria etcetera all of which raised the children’s death rate considerably. When I was there I actually witness the mourning of a child, who had died of cholera the night before, the father said: “we don’t understand what is happening, our children keep dying on us”. No one ever explained to them the importance of managing their waste, for them it was normal to dump it the river, they saw no connection with the fact that they were living on waste and the death of their children.

This caused a great impression on me, the irresponsibility of making this bottled products available for people, without properly educating them about waste disposal, or even creating the infrastructure for waste recollection I believe is appalling. Not that we have it any better in Mexico, but this example I believe illustrates how the slum dwellers can easily drown in their own waste.

 

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2 Comments»

  cindypound wrote @

this is a really powerful personal account. thanks for sharing this. did you take these photos, too? they are wonderful. great shots.

  galalutteroth wrote @

thanks cindy!! yes I did.


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