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Jakarta Post

Where the sun never shines: The dark, cramped alleys many Jakartans call home

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Fri, October 18, 2019   /  08:08 am
The Jakarta Post Image
Young boys gather for a Quran recital in a house in Gang Venus in Tambora district in West Jakarta on Tuesday. The densely populated area is totally covered, with no sunlight sneaking into the neighborhood.(JP/Budi Sutrisno)

The sun was blasting its heat on Jl. Jembatan Besi in Tambora, West Jakarta, at noon on Tuesday, yet not a single ray of light hit most parts of a narrow nearby alley called Gang Venus, leaving its residents shrouded in darkness. A lack of space and the high cost of housing in the capital have forced people there to live in houses packed from wall to wall, with roofs and upper floors protruding over the alley, leaving no gaps for natural light to sneak in. For light, the residents rely solely on lamps hanging from what is essentially the ceiling of the alley. “The lamps and electric fans are kept on all day while we are at home,” said 32-year-old Ardila. “We just hang our laundry up on the little terrace ceilings to dry with the heat.” Ardila, a beverage vendor and mother of three, is one of hundreds of residents in this community unit (RW). Born an...