It is the largest gathering on earth. Most Westerners understand the Maha Kumbh Mela, if they understand it at all, to be about spectacle and tradition— the naked priests and sacred baths, the ash and fire and splashing. Most of the 80 million pilgrims—yes, 80 million—experience the Kumbh Mela as [...]
Christmas is always around the corner for the residents of San Fernando. Recognized as the yule capital of the Philippines, the city harbors a cadre of craftsmen whose lineage dates back over a century, to 1908, when Francisco Estanislao first made a giant lantern 10 feet in diameter. Today, visitors [...]
This is an installment of our Getting By column, profiles of street vendors and other informal economy occupations around the world. Daily Income: Estimated between 4000 and 6000 Myanmar Kyat (USD 4.60-USD 7) Hours Worked: 12. Starting on the 8 AM southbound Mandalay-Yangon line, then returning on the next northbound [...]
A giant hydrogen balloon catches the wind and floats swiftly upwards. The balloon travels 26 kilometers in total. It passes minefields, barbed wire, and steep mountains before releasing its payload on the lesser-known side of the world’s most militarized border: information from the outside world.
200 computer screens, stationed one foot apart, flicker through smoky air and fluorescent lighting. Some have as many as four males huddled around with their arms hanging on each other, mostly shirtless. It’s 11pm on Thursday, and even though discounted night hours haven’t started, the Internet cafe is near capacity.
In India, jugaad is an electrical cord, split and stripped at the end, each wire pushed directly into one hole of an electrical outlet with half of a toothpick wedging it in place. It’s a short log used as a cutting board for the evening’s vegetables, the middle hollowed from [...]
Makeshift is reporting live from TEDGlobal 2012 with five questions for Professor Vikram Patel. Born in India and trained in the UK in the underfunded field of mental health, Dr. Vikram Patel is no stranger to resource constraints. But when he began a two-year post in Zimbabwe, he found himself utterly unequipped. [...]
Makeshift contributor Elias Scheer followed Professor Anil Gupta, founder of India’s Honey Bee Network and SRISTI, on his annual Shodh Yatra, a journey across rural India to uncover innovation at the grassroots. Special thanks to SRISTI for their invitation and hospitality.
Weaving through Cambodia by motorbike, hugging the Vietnam border, I came to some startling realizations. Firstly, I was running worryingly low on gas, even though I fueled up just 20 minutes ago. Secondly, there didn’t appear to be any gas stations for miles around. Finally, the air was sweltering, and I could really use a drink. At this [...]
While flooding in Thailand continues to affect millions of inhabitants, cause hundreds of deaths, and drive up global rice prices, many are dealing with conditions with some serious makeshift ingenuity. The Tumblr site Thai Flood Hacks has already documented dozens of cases of flood-adapted vehicles and structures. From floating tuk tuks to a bridge made [...]