Naomi Stolow photography, nature, wildlife and travel

28 October 2011

The narrow, bumpy, very long and windy road

I was a very long drive between Delhi and Jaipur, on roads like the picture below. Bumpy, dusty, narrow, often crowded and seemingly endless. Our driver had very long legs, and his knees were up at elbow height as he drove. I learnt that asking how far we had to go, if we were half way, or what time we might arrive was completely pointless. So I just sat back and took in the scenes that passed by my line of vision.
This was a cafe we stopped at for chai and a snack - the people there were curious about me, and thought I was buying carpets. Lots of laughter at that place!

27 October 2011

Mukti Ashram

Situated on the outskirts of Delhi, Mukti Ashram is an immediate shelter for the children who are rescued from Delhi and its surroundings. They are immediately provided with medical help, food, clothing, recreational facilities, sports, theatre and counselling during their stay, until the legal formalities are completed and they are repatriated and reunited with their families.

The children here have all been rescued from working 12-14 hour days in zari, embroidery, bindi making, batch making or leather shoe manufacturing units. When working, the children are not allowed to go out of small rooms stuffed with 3 adults and often rest of the children from their villages. They are all only given 2 x 10 minute breaks each working day to eat lunch and dinner. All with no daylight.

I was interviewing one 7 year old boy who had been rescued from his job of stitching shoes. He talked openly about his work, about overtime, just like an adult. He suddenly asked if I was coming back to Mukti Ashram, and I replied that I hoped I would be able to sometime the next year. Then I pointed out to him that he was going home, back to his village, that very next day and leaving the Ashram. He pondered this for a few seconds, grinned widely and then said 'You come to my village for lunch?' This made me both very happy and sad, as in reality - much as I would if I could, it is unlikely.

It is an incredible place, full of vitality and life. I saw children reunited with their parents there - something I will never forget.

25 October 2011

In and around New Orleans - Autumn 2011

Autumn 2011, New Orleans, the yearly online conference. A random selection from a spare day mooching about the town.

24 October 2011

Diwali - this time last year

Last October I arrived in Delhi, and it was my second trip to India in 2010.  I arrived in time for Diwali. Diwali in Delhi is like nothing else I've ever experienced. There is no such thing as sky - just a mass of colour everywhere.  And endless explosions. For about 3 days. Driving to and from a Diwali party through the suburbs was like going through a war zone, stinking of smoke, with colourful bombs on the pavements and roads to be dodged around. Simply fantastic! But I'd guess not for the feint hearted!

23 October 2011

Djibouti - strange sulphuric chimney pots

I think Djibouti is one of the most extraordinary places I've visited. I went to swim with the Whale Sharks in the Red Sea, and at the same time fell in love with the people there. These are some nomadic Afar people, near the border with Ethiopia. Very strange geological sulphuric steamings in the land of natural, endlessly puffing chimney pots. It was a whole day of off-road driving to get there and that night I slept in a round canvas tent in a mosquito net.  The children were wary - but I found my way. Beautiful, beautiful smiles!  Our driver developed appendicitis that night - but that's another story...

21 October 2011

Children in Southern India

About 8 hours drive from Bangalore, these children live in a village on the edge of Bandipur National Park. if you read back to January/February 2010 you will see why I was there.

18 October 2011

Tadjoura, Djibouti - the slaughter of a goat on the beach

Djibouti lies in Northeast Africa on the Gulf of Aden at the southern entrance to the Red Sea.  It shares a border with Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.  Three of the earth's tectonic plates meet and are parting here, creating some amazing geological anomalies.  These photos were taken in Tadjoura, a tiny village on the coast. The people rarely see tourists. The family below let me watch them slaughter a goat - it was a very sombre experience, the children around knew exactly what was going on.

16 October 2011


A stunnilgy beautiful park, Ranthambore is in Northern India, southeastern Rajasthan, about 130 km from Jaipur. The tigers were there, but despite 3 game drives I didn't see them.