The place where post college graduates go to find themselves. Where those looking for spiritual clarity tend to flock. Where photographers love to travel.
Where Columbus was trying to get to.
I’ve been in Mumbai with my wife for nearly a week now. The trip is a two part event. What started out as a delayed honeymoon, has turned into two weeks of shooting for some incredible people.
It starts out in Mumbai with our longtime friend Dr John Abraham and his wife Ammini. His clinic serves the poorest of the poor in his area. People will often come from miles away, to get his help.
When the monsoons come, he is very busy taking care of entire families that are suffering from colds or the flu. He has often worked with these families for more than 20 years, and some for as long as 35 years.
He works to heal them holistically.
Prayer, medicine, food. These are just some of the ways that he has been able to help them.
For me, Mumbai has been a difficult place. As a foreigner in the part of town we are in, people are suspicious of me. I get warning looks when I take my camera out, and as the slum is all around us, safety is a big concern.
My iPhone has been my friend while here.
It has allowed me to shoot when my slr would have crowds surrounding me, and it has helped me to produce some beautiful images.
The days here are good. We start in the morning visiting the clinic, going around the neighborhood, and having lunch. Then it’s time for a nap, before heading out to make house visits and meet the people that John works with.
We have spent the past three evenings in the slums, visiting people in their homes, and I am amazed at the kindness every time.
It’s unbelievable to me, that 8-12 people can live in a place that is only 10×10 or smaller. Often times you will have 2-3 families in the same 8×8 room; sleeping, cleaning, and eating.
We have heard people’s testimonies, and while they may be stuck in a cycle of perpetual poverty, God is alive and rich in their hearts.
Mumbai is the dirtiest place I have ever been. Streets are covered in garbage, sewers are left uncovered by anything except a metal grate, and when it gets hot, the smell begins to permeate everything.
The roads here are terrifying. I have driven on a lot of bad roads, with crazy drivers, but I am not sure you could pay me to drive here. There is no sense of order, no one really obeys the few traffic lights that there are, and with 26 million people in Mumbai, not only do you have to dodge rickshas, motorcycles, and terrible drivers, but people, cows, and dogs. I read recently that Mumbai is like a fish bowl overflowing with minnows. It looks like total chaos, but the minnows rarely hit each other. That describes this dance pretty well. It’s like imagining a mosh pit where people do everything but hit each other. They run full force and then slide by at the last moment. It’s intimidating, and as a result, from 5am-midnight, horns are the predominant ambient sound.
Monday we fly down south to Kerala to meet our friends at Influence International. We are so excited to see the work that God is doing through them. Between their seminary school, and children’s homes, lives are being changed, and families made whole.
Until next time, enjoy some photos, ending with one from the last time I was here, 20 years ago.
I’d also like to welcome my wife kelly to the blog. as she is an important part of my life and business, she will be helping me to stay on track, update the blog more frequently, and while we travel, share her take on what we see.
Hi Kelly here.
I count this a rare opportunity to see a country not as a tourist but as a member of a family. Dr. John Abraham and his wife Ammini have gladly received us into their home and life. I have been told that the people of India are a very private people. But we would never know that. We have been welcomed into many very humble homes and given a glass of juice (which is considered by those who have little to be a very special treat). People are willing to answer the questions we have about their lifestyle, their way of making money, their woes. They do this because, in their eyes, we are not foreigners, but children of John and Ammini.
This is a singular and uncommon opportunity provided to us. We are blessed.
Tags: documentary photography humanitarian photography India iphone Mumbai Non Profits/NGO's northway christian community photojournalism Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer Travel photography
He took the microphone, picked up his glass, and quietly uttered, “This is the happiest day of my life!” before he handed the mic back to the band.
Phil and Barb were so excited to be married, and having found that joy, they could do little more than laugh and smile at each other.
I met up with Phil, his brother, and parents at Phils house, got to know them a bit before heading outside to grab some quick portraits.The ceremony was at Northway Christian Community Worship Cafe in Wexford, so I headed over to meet up with Barb and the girls. After a beautiful ceremony and the family portraits, we headed to the West End Overlook, and then to the reception at The LeMont on Mount Washington.
Thanks for letting me be a part of your day.
Enjoy the story.
Tags: Beautiful brides Dan Speicher documentary photography LeMont lifestyle wedding photojournalism Mount Washington northway christian community photojournalism Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer wedding photography wedding photojournalism West End Overlook Wexford
The dump has continued to get smaller over the past year. Construction is under way to build a recycling center in the dump, which will employ local workers, but the construction which started last year, seems to be going very slow.
When we arrived in the dump, we stopped at the local school, and visited with some children for a short time, while Dan spoke to us about what caused people to stay in La Chureca. The loss of value in their life, the struggle of rules in the outside world, the fear of rejection, like an abused woman who goes back to her abuser, or a drug addict who cant kick the habit after a near death overdose, these hold the people of the dump captive. In a cycle of constant struggle. With little chance of freedom, until their spirit is healed.
WE met a woman named Jessenia, (not Dans’ wife) who is living with AIDS. The Doctors give her only a few more years to live. She recently was given her own home in the dump, and she invited us in with pride, to a small shack, that I fear could barely hold up to a heavy wind. She invited us in, and as she told us her story, I was struck by the faith that this woman posses. She believes that God will heal her, and that alone, shows a stronger faith than I have. After a 10 or so hot stifling minutes, we walked outside and prayed with her before we continued on our way through the dump. For us a moment of insight into her world and disease, for her a life fraught with the knowledge that this virus will end up taking her life. Very possibly sooner, rather than later.
Praying for Jessenia outside her home
a child stands outside his home, where a day earlier, someone entered and stole all the food his family had, as he played soccer with friends
Sun sets on another day in Nicaragua
Tags: Dan Speicher mission trips Nicaragua. la chureca non profit photography Non Profits/NGO's northway christian community photojournalism pittsburgh photojournalist travel photographer
Morning in the compund
Late last night, I arrived safely in Nicaragua with the NWCC team. Dan and Jessenia Bain met us at the Managua airport.
I had planned this on being a longer introduction, but i wasnt saving often enough, and when I went to publish the post, my internet had kicked out and I lost everything. So here are a few photos since I am heading to breakfast.
Tags: Dan Speicher managua mission trip Nicaragua Non Profits/NGO's northway christian community photojournalist