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  AnimeshRay / © Animesh Ray      Projet : Orphans of the Garbage Dump

Orphans of the Garbage Dump

Mr. Cheun, part-time tuk-tuk driver who teaches chemistry at the local community college, comes sharp at 8AM. We purchase a bag of rice, some plastic bags and cut a water bottle into a spade-like contraption.

We drive across Phnom Penh to its garbage dump. Along a wide road lined on both sides by squat warehouses we arrive at a vast open space of undulating heaps of human detritus. Multicolored rubbish piled to the horizon, smoke in the air heavy with putrid smell; then the children.

They are camouflaged with their shirts and pants of veritable color within the colored patches of the garbage heaps. It appears like a colony of moving, throbbing, living beings.

While Mr. Cheun unties the sac of rice and gets settled with the bags, I follow the children, some as young as four or five, others teenagers, rush on with sticks and poles as a garbage truck drives in every few minutes and empties a load of smelly content into a new pile. Children probe through the garbage with an iron hook, quickly sorting the recoverable items for recycling, others for burning; a fire is lit nearby, a truckload is quickly sorted out, then the next truck arrives.

Mr. Cheun shouts out the news of rice. The children rush towards the tuk-tuk. But Mr. Cheung, an experienced teacher, quickly arranges them into three files. Little and tall, young and old, all in multicolored garments, some in rubber boots and gloves, some without, nearly all in hats, file on. Excitement is in the air for a small bag of rice; some have their hats ready—alas, some have porous baseball caps that leak nearly as much as are retained—others have the ends of their shirts, and those who have neither get a plastic bag. One hapless boy has dropped his capful on the soil. Five boys and girls kneel down to help him scoop up the rice from the soil, dry rice grains mixed in with the red dust of Cambodia. A slightly older girl comes by and offers a bit from her own bag. Amazingly, two nearby boys do the same. All the while, Mr. Cheun keeps doling out the rice in measured amounts. Eager hands, little eyes--they have as much interest in my camera and the view on its back panel as in the bag of rice.

We empty the bag. The children are quieter now; some have gone back to their work. We wrap up. A guy comes forward and asks Mr. Cheun to tell me to hide my camera on my way out. I ask no question and put my camera away, and take a last look over my shoulder at the apocalyptic scene under a scorching sun.

When will these children ask for an X-box or an iPod Nano?

12 photos 0 draft - fermé le 04/04/2009 -



Garbage Dump
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
25/03/2009    3 comm. photo
Reloaded
Garbage Dump
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
25/03/2009   3 comm. photo
A sea of activity
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
26/03/2009    3 comm. photo
Reloaded
A sea of activity
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
26/03/2009   3 comm. photo
The Truck Arrives
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
27/03/2009    2 comm. photo
Reloaded
The Truck Arrives
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
27/03/2009   2 comm. photo
Children of detritus
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
28/03/2009    3 comm. photo
Reloaded
Children of detritus
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
28/03/2009   3 comm. photo
Dwarfs
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
29/03/2009    1 comm. photo
Reloaded
Dwarfs
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
29/03/2009   1 comm. photo
A Saddle Point
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
29/03/2009    1 comm. photo
Reloaded
A Saddle Point
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
29/03/2009   1 comm. photo
Pain
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
30/03/2009    0 comm. photo
Reloaded
Pain
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
30/03/2009   0 comm. photo
Rice
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
31/03/2009    0 comm. photo
Reloaded
Rice
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
31/03/2009   0 comm. photo
Supper
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
01/04/2009    1 comm. photo
Reloaded
Supper
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
01/04/2009   1 comm. photo
Girl with a hook
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
02/04/2009    0 comm. photo
Reloaded
Girl with a hook
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
02/04/2009   0 comm. photo
Play
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
03/04/2009    0 comm. photo
Reloaded
Play
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
03/04/2009   0 comm. photo
To a Vee
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
04/04/2009    0 comm. photo
Reloaded
To a Vee
© Animesh Ray  AnimeshRay
04/04/2009   0 comm. photo

 
 

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