Two Weeks in Photos

Accra, Bangkok, Chennai, Lima, Manila, Nairobi | 07/26/2013 11:11am
Informal City Dialogues

Over the past two weeks, our bloggers toured slums in Nairobi, searched for water in Chennai and quested for the best fresh-squeezed juice in Bangkok. Here are some of the photos they took along the way.


Surquillo market under overcast skies in Lima. The quintessential example of the city’s informal commerce, the market offers everything from optometry services to Game of Thrones books.

Orange-juice vendors race to squeeze as much profit out of their fruit as they can in Bangkok. Working quickly, they can create one ton of juice per week.

Jose Morales, who has become an informal spokesman for the People’s Plan in Manila, addresses supporters. The Plan provides an alternative vision for housing for the urban poor.

Fatima stands near the cauldrons where her mother, Margaret, brews beer. Slum-brewed beer has become such a hit in Accra that multinational breweries are getting in on the game.

The courtyard of a house in the Usshertown section of Accra. The city is so crowded these days that the average house in such neighborhoods holds nearly 50 residents.

Water cans line the streets of Chennai. In a city where drinkable water is a scarce commodity, the drivers of tanker trunks wield inordinate power.

A resident of Kibera displays jewelry she sells to slum tourists. Slum-dwellers are conflicted about the practice of slum tourism, but many acknowledge that it brings needed revenue to these neighborhoods.

A boy sells banana fritters in Manila. In the Philippines, children are sometimes traditionally expected to earn money to offset the costs of their upbringing, a practice that sometimes runs afoul of child-labor laws.

Street performers at an arts festival in Accra. “Can we eat art?” is a question asked by critics who wonder whether such festivals really do anything positive for their communities.

Handicrafts in Lima created by a woman who fled the terrorism of Peru’s rural provinces in the 1980s. Many such migrants have built successful businesses that still exist in Lima today.