Going Outside to Play

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    Although Indonesia was quite a beautiful place, it was also incredibly poor. Every country has its Hans Rosling predictable bell curve of wealth distribution, and Indonesia has so many people in it (almost as many people as the US), that a lot of people end up over on the left-hand side of the curve.

    While walking around one of the cities there, I went off-track and ended up in a small settlement underneath a bridge. This family had set up here, found old couches and bits of refuse to build their home. This little girl was outside playing, arranging scraps of trash on the ground in interesting patterns.

    I stopped and talked to the family for a short time. They were nice and didn't mind me taking photos. The mom seemed a little suspicious but then calmed down when she saw I was good with kids. The dad did not speak a lot of English, and I indicated to him that his house looked pretty sturdy compared to some of the others. He pointed to one across the river, which you can see in the upper part of the photo, an, in broken words, said that part of it had recently washed away. The dad was pretty happy with what he had built. He motioned to the little fence and then motioned to his little girl.

    from the blog at www.stuckincustoms.com

    doug.siefken, Gus Engberg, cristianca, and 14 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 13 more comments

    1. marcp_dmoz 71 months ago | reply

      Very interesting! Fantastic shot.
      --
      Seen on my Flickr home page. ( ?² )

    2. mojodale 71 months ago | reply

      wonderful image. very emotive

    3. Nathan White 71 months ago | reply

      I guess experiences like these, make you appreciate what you have. Interesting how they remain so close to the river, despite the fact their neighbours place was partly washed away.

    4. kay's kamera 71 months ago | reply

      I commend you not just for excellent photo journalism but for how you also involve yourself with those around you and ultimately bring us into the picture too, exposing us all to the plight of the world around us. Thank you

    5. DenaKel 71 months ago | reply

      Great Capture. Makes you appreciate all that we have.

    6. StephenZacharias 71 months ago | reply

      As mentioned above we have many street people living in conditions similar to these if we only look in our own backyards. I recently saw a news item, and the city doesn't matter so much, but they had found a large dwelling built underneath a bridge. They kicked out all the people and boarded it up to ensure this wouldn't happen again. I would ask as the news article did so where did those people go? I imagine to another location just like it or perhaps not even quite as good.
      As to the photo its a good reminder for all of us as to how good we have it and that there are others in need in this world not just abroad but in our own backyards.

    7. JeromeF 71 months ago | reply

      this kind of construction is illegal, even in Indonesia, and a danger for the family living there (it won't stand this years typhoon season).

    8. Verticordia ( . . . ) 71 months ago | reply

      I like Hans Rosling and the trendylizer - His TED presentations are compelling. I think the wage gap in Asian countries is much greater then the US. You really need to take care in some of these communities. I have a lot of heart for them but as in many of these areas survival is an imparative and some there feel God's given up on them already, afterall, they can feel like they are living in hell and the end justifies the means or it doesn't... Some of the employment avaiable is not so nice. Just rememeber there's 16 Meyers Briggs personality types and about 8 personalitiy disorders, maslow's hierarchy, grades A thru F, and the media knows no bounds -- "All advertising advertises advertising."... Social climbing must be encouraged and let's face it, not everyone bootstrapping is doing it legally. Add drugs, gun, pirates, and terroists to the mix... It's a nice thought that no law would be needed and if anarchy were the rule all would go smooth... it would be nice if everyone honored their contracts...Yes, it's a sad situation and my brush with some of it has cost me dearly. Evil does exist and it's at the top and the bottom... Others I know have been treated so generiously by the same. Yes of course this sort of construction is illegal. Here in the US, the cities have laws enough to drive out the poor but there wouldn't be enough jails. Disenfranhise, discourage, and drive off into someone else's territory. There are elites that play god and God loves us and dislikes them.... For most everyone who has a heart for them, it's BNIMBY (but not in my back yard) It's a tough problem, they need health food, support, education, and jobs. Heck I need a job and I can't find one and I have 8 years of college and I have preformed up and above the call of duty. I even tried to bring jobs to people like this and got ripped off by them... I guess i shouldn't have gone outside to play
      - hehehe - it's a great shot! See Sneaky-Zoo

    9. colin.berry 71 months ago | reply

      excellent shot, sir. Appreciate as always that you might take the path less traveled. I'm curious to know if you felt sorry for the family as you stood there talking with them? Your description of them implies that that you seemed take more notice of what they had as opposed to what they did not have. In reading though your exploits, it seems as though you have this unique ability to transgress the normal boundries that seem to hold the rest of us in our places. Did they seem less happy or content than those you have meet in your travels that have a lot? Very thought provoking image...

    10. jazzine 71 months ago | reply

      legal or illegal, right or wrong, honest family or band of thieves....... its still a great shot, and i love that u always tell about ur interactions with the subjects. keep up the good work Trey !!!!!

    11. Scoutress 71 months ago | reply

      Once again, thanks for sharing!

    12. Stuck in Customs 71 months ago | reply

      Thanks everyone - I was kind of afraid you all would find this one a bit boring... but I see you do not - thanks!

    13. Scoutress 71 months ago | reply

      We know what some of these things really look like, thanks to you, Trey. I don't have a subscription to National Geographic, but, I have your photostream, and often, we viewers, get a little humor thrown in for free!!! . ;~)

    14. Verticordia ( . . . ) 71 months ago | reply

      No Trey this is terrific. I know people who do nothing but these sorts of shots. Not everyone wants to look at it all the time but as you said, they have surprisingly good attitude and can be fun and laid back. I have seen some really creative people in these conditions. W all have stuff to deal with. I know I was putting out a fair amount of negative above but I think the majority are good souls, at least till you have to bargain with them in the market place - negotiation is a way of life. However, I have friend in Bandung. Last year she was working for an event planner and the boss took her to Manila for a seminar. Something happened and he fired her and refused to pay for her ticket home. She had a few dollars but not much. She got into an internet cafe and told me about the events. I couldn't help her. However, a family living like this one above took her in, housed her, protected her, and feed her for a week. They also helped her find someone who helped her communicate with her family and they lent her the money for a flight home the day before Christmas so she could be with her kids. Now the streets of Manila can be a wicked place too. There's at least a quarter of a million homeless, and without family, children on those streets at all ages, not to mention the prior generation that's now built their own little families of street kids. But you are right you find a very free and positive attitude, they can be very stoic and in the Philippines they can just burst into group singing in the middle of it all. It's a complex issue. about a year ago in Manila a school teacher in the poor areas, took a buss full of kids hostage drove down to the palace and would not release them till Arroyo appropriated the funds for their care. He got it and I believe they dropped charges too. So these places are not without their fun! However, if the people are in revolt it's not good to be a US citizen standing around , tempers get high and beer is available. =) cool shot.

    15. bapriver2009 71 months ago | reply

      Great capture, You take us on alot of "untraveled" roads. Be careful

    16. ikoophotos 71 months ago | reply

      Great masterpiece! Excellent capture!
      awesome
      EXCELLENT SHOT, my dear friend!

    17. rabidash* 71 months ago | reply

      wOw…!!!
      wOnderful wOrk..
      Seen in explore...#..

    18. Jordan Davis ▲▲▲ 56 months ago | reply

      where abouts was this taken ? not yogyakarta by any chance ?

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