Strong Women in Mumbai

LisaBrockman_20150220_Mumbai_2127Today, on International Women’s Day, I want to share a few images of two strong women I met in the Dharavi Slum in Mumbai, India.  Yes, the same slum featured prominently (and rather inaccurately) in that famous movie.

Meet Paani and Bhura (I must confess, I may have the second name incorrect).  I met these two women near a pottery works in Dharavi.  They were resting from their day’s labors and were surrounded by children and grandchildren – all vying for their attention.  Yet they sat quietly and  peacefully talking together.  As I approached, they motioned a welcome to me and indicated I should sit with them.  Gladly, I did.  As I do not speak Hindi and they did not speak English – we conversed with smiles, eye contact and hand motions.  They pointed to my cameras and to themselves – I took that to mean they wanted a photo.  I made several, showing them the back of camera so they could see the images.  They smiled (but not for the camera) and posed a bit more.  Eventually, Paani sent one of the children into a nearby house to bring out an old photo.  The photo was of them in the streets of Dharavi, taken when they were young women.  It was, of course, worn and faded, stuck to the glass.  The frame falling apart.   They then posed for me holding the photo.  When I showed them that photo, they smiled and through our rudimentary communications, asked me to send them a copy.  I managed to get their address.  I will happily send Paani and Bhura these photos and hope they enjoy them as much as I do.

Namaste, Lisa

 

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One Morning in Pinar Del Rio

LisaBrockman_20140321_CUBA_152-EditWe weren’t supposed to be in Pinar del Rio but our hotel in Vinales fell through and this was the town nearby where a hotel could be found.  So, all the time we had in Pinar del Rio was one morning.  Just a couple of hours. But oh – such lovely hours.

After breakfast, we hit the streets.  Nothing special going on.  People moving through their day.  Pinar del Rio is a low key town.  Tourists don’t generally go there (we may have been in the only hotel in town).  We wandered a bit, talked to the locals.  The highlight was being invited into two homes.  The families so proud of their homes, welcomed us like we were old friends.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I am thankful to have the privilege to travel and meet such kind and gracious people. And make a few images along the way

Below are a few images from each of those homes.

We met the matriarch of this family through her open door . . . A doorway that brought amazing light into the room.

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We later met a kind gentleman on his front porch who introduced us to his lovely wife, her beautiful garden and his father-in-law.  And check out that typewriter!  Such fun!

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Spinning Prayers . . . The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey

LisaBrockman_20140902_Cappadocia_1844-2The Whirling Dervish, or Semazen, an icon of Turkey, whirling in respect of and for God. The ceremony, called Sema, represents not only Turkish culture and history but primarily derives from the Sufi faith. The whirling mirrors the natural revolution of all life – from the revolution of atoms to the cycle of life returning to the earth, to the revolution of the Earth itself.

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The Sema is, in a sense, a prayer. I am not going to try to describe the stages of the Sema as it would require a far greater understanding than I have. In very simple terms, the way I understand it, when the dervish begins and ends each stage with his arms crossed over his chest to his shoulders, he represents man’s oneness with God. With his arms raised and open during the whirling, his right hand is directed to the sky, ready to receive God; his left is turned toward the earth as a way of conveying God’s gifts to the people. The revolving is always from right to left, around the heart, and embracing all of humankind.

While in Cappadocia, Turkey, a few friends and I had the privilege of spending some time with the Whirling Dervishes who perform at the Saruhan Carevanserai.  It was really great to witness the ritual up close and without the crowds.  Enjoy the images . . . Lisa

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Wandering the Streets of Santa Clara, Cuba

LisaBrockman_20140323_CUBA_1283-EditTwo days in Santa Clara . . . each day spent wandering around the town center – an area of about  24 sq blocks – meeting people, making friends.   People out at all hours of the morning and evening – living their lives on the front porches and the streets to escape the heat inside.  Friendly.  Calling me over to practice their English or wanting to pose for an image – or just to ask why we were there with our cameras.  Most had a smile for us – and a laugh. I’ve included in this post portraits made during those two very special days. Enjoy, Lisa LisaBrockman_20140323_CUBA_1246-Edit

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The Morning Paper with Fermin

LisaBrockman_20140323_CUBA_1422-EditI met Fermin while wandering one morning through the town of Santa Clara, Cuba.  Sitting on his stoop, hunched over the morning paper, reading through his cracked eyeglasses.  Stopping to chat a bit, I asked him if I could make a few images – he happily agreed.  The whole time telling me quite animatedly of the events in his paper.  Honestly, my Spanish is not very good – so I’ve really no idea what he was telling me – but he was enjoying the telling of it.  And I was quite happy to listen.  The simple joys of travel . . . . Lisa

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Trinidad, Cuba – An Afternoon with Eusebio and Flora

LisaBrockman_20140326_CUBA_5145-EditWalking through the streets of Trinidad with my friend Liz, away from the typical tourist sections, we heard the sounds of bongo drums being beaten not so rhythmically. And a soft guitar accompanied by an aged melodic voice. We aproached quietly so as not to disturb them and found a young boy and his grandfather making soft music in the front room of their home.  The guitar and voice belong to Eusebio . . . the  elderly Cuban gentleman who immediately welcomed us into his home as they played.

LisaBrockman_20140325_CUBA_4864-EditLisaBrockman_20140325_CUBA_4527-EditEusebio, kind and softspoken – until he told us his name which he enthusiastically said EUSEBIO!  He introduced us to his wife, the lovely Flora.  Flora, beautiful and bent with age and no doubt, a life of hard work, beamed at us.  As we all listened to Eusebio play and sing, Flora’s eyes and entire face  lit up as she watched Eusebio.  She looked at him in pure love  – truly the love of a long life spent together.  It was beautiful to see.

Children from the neighborhood soon crowded into the windows and doorway of Eusebio and Flora’s home – they had also come to hear the music (and frankly, to check out the foreigners being entertained).  We stayed and listened and made a few images.  I think we would have stayed the whole day but it was clear that Eusebio was tiring.  So we said our goodbyes, thinking we would not see Eusebio and Flora again.

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As it turned out, our trip leader Jeremy knew Eusebio and having seen him earlier in the day, arranged for Liz’s husband, an accomplished musician, to play with Eusebio later.  Whahoo!  back we went that evening.  We found Eusebio just as he was earlier, guitar in hand.  Flora, fresh from a bath, smelled of roses and lavender.    Their daughter returned home from work to pick up sticks and tap out the rhythm with Neil and Eusebio.   Of course, the young grandson appeared to join in on the bongos.

Neil played with Eusebio and his family, Rob danced with lovely Flora (her eyes lit up then too!) and Liz and Jeremy and I watched and listened . . .

Spectacular.  I can think of no better to way spend an afternoon . . . Lisa

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Boxeo en Cuba, Part Two

LisaBrockman_20140326_CUBA_6903-EditOne more look at the Rafael Trejo Gimnasio in Havana . . . this time with the youngsters.  Every bit as intense as their adult comrades, but with a lot of hamming it up for cameras.  A really fun time, for sure!

Enjoy

Lisa

April 2014

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