Life with the People of Cochin India

We chose a shore excursion in Cochin, India, that emphasized the life of the local people in their small villages in southwestern India, a district called Kerala that is noted for its backwaters and slower pace of life.  Our first stop was to see a local weaving center.  By our standards it was very primitive, everything being done by hand, using wooden looms and foot pedals.  The process could be done much quicker with modern machinery, but that would take jobs away from these local women who work the looms 8 hours a day for about $1 an hour wage helping to support their families.  Even though there is considerable poverty in the area, we were pleased to learn that the literacy rate was at 95%.




Then we went to visit a village on a nearby island where 40 families live.  In order to reach the island, we boarded rice boats that had been modified to carry passengers. Two busloads of passengers walked makeshift wooden planks and crowded into what appeared to be less than sea-worthy crafts for our trip.  Two men with bamboo poles propelled the crafts down the shoreline and across the river.


State of the art gang plank



The visit with the island villagers was sad in some respects, as the people are very poor, living off the river and small plots of land that each family has.  They make handicrafts for the tourists that visit, but many of the children were begging, at their parents urging, and it put a strain on the visit from our eyes.  We gave the children candy, and some bought trinkets, but it was a difficult situation.

When Carolyn and Mary Jane visited India a few years ago, we had lots of fun riding the tuk-tuks.  They are basically 3-wheeled vehicles that are inexpensive transportation in these heavy populated areas.  They replaced the human rickshaws that were so prevalent decades ago.  The tuk-tuks scoot through traffic and down back alleys where regular vehicles cannot go.


Carolyn had wanted to get pictures of the Chinese fishing nets at sunset, so, as we were going back to the ship, she asked the driver if she could take a tuk-tuk down to the area of Cochin where the Chinese fishing nets were used.  He told her that it was possible, so Barbara Dempsey agreed to go with her.  Carolyn’s rationale was that, even if the pictures of the nets did not turn out, she would get a wonderful ride in the tuk-tuks.  So off they went.

Their driver was named Mansoor and he stayed with them the entire trip, down to the nets, while they took pictures, and brought them back to the ship.  They did not catch the sunset (too early) but I think they got some nice photographs and they had a laughing good time on their excursion.  Carolyn even helped the men pull in the nets.




Mansoor (tuk-tuk driver) and Carolyn


Carolyn helping to pull in the nets


The Indian people in Kerala are very interesting to talk with and to photograph.  In many instances they are very poor, but they do seem happy.  No, it is not our lifestyle, but living quietly with nature and getting along with many different religious beliefs (Hindu, Muslim, and Christian) in one locale, they are peaceful and successful.










2 Responses to “Life with the People of Cochin India”

  1. Great photos again!! They could be in National Geographic!

  2. missfrankiecat April 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Some very beautiful photos of interesting people.

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