My son, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology, is an expert in Bombay’s alternative economy. He has spent much time in India studying the vast street economy. This week he was there to deliver a paper at a conference. As is his habit, he strolled about the city investigating the vast array of vendor stalls. He emailed me that he had met a man who makes acrylic dentures in “a tiny informal workshop.” They sell for $10 each; “basically, they are dentures for the poor.”
I was very interested in the photos that accompanied the email. I wonder what training this man has. Did he train as an apprentice? or more formal training? I carefully studied the photos. The methods are primitive compared to the sophisticated computer technology that we in the U.S. have available and the sanitation is surely lacking: rubber bands to hold the upper and lower teeth together, a stapler and lighter lying nearby, a broken air vent. But this man is supplying teeth so poor people can chew better and look better and at a price they can afford. What can be better than that? My son asked me in his email: “Not sure if you will be impressed or horrified!!” Impressed! for sure!