When I lived in India, I hated sewers. I hated sewers for what they did to people. One day when I was walking back from school, I saw two people slowly lower an elderly man into a sewer with a basket of some sort. A few minutes later, as I stood watching, the man came up, drenched in shit, his basket full of excreta. He emptied it, and went back down. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I remember coming home and asking my mother why the world was so inhumane! I cried because I felt so helpless. It was the first time the caste system hit me in the gut.

Today, I was walking through the quad at school and for the first time since I’ve been back in the United States, saw this. I stood there for a minute- nauseous.

This thing- which kills people’s souls in other parts of the world, is so insignificant here. There will be no story of a child falling in here and dying. No one will ever have to go down with a basket. Most people will never even notice it. As it sits there, masqueraded in almost perfect green grass, I feel nauseous.

End manual scavenging.


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