She was just a baby when she came to Goa. Her sister and she left behind their r…

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She was just a baby when she came to Goa. Her sister and she left behind their rag-picking family in Karnataka and came to Goa in search of a better life. But rag-picking was the only thing they knew. So for 20 years, they lived off the dumpsters in a small makeshift settlement off Mapusa in North Goa…
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Then 20 years later, Goa’s first high tech waste management plant opened up and hired rag pickers from across the state. After all, they were pros at dealing at waste. That’s where I first saw her, wearing a protective coat, sturdy gloves, face mask, eyes on the moving conveyor belt, picking out recyclables as all kinds of things rolled along – curry covered boxes, plastic in all forms, rotting vegetables, tattered clothes, umbrellas, muck covered toys, even rotting carcasses 😲
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Later during lunch break, as she ate along with her sister and brother in law, also employees, she seemed nothing but joyful. Unlike her rag-picking days, she now has a uniform, a decent salary, health care, her own room in a rented house, public transport to work. After chatting a while about our lives, I shyly asked if I could take a photo of her. Of course, she said, and whipped out a shiny Samsung camera phone from her pocket to take photos with me! .
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The tattoo on her arm is her name and her sister’s, made with sharp hot metal while she was still a kid… and as I chatted with her bubbly self, I promised myself that whenever I decide to stay in one place again, I’ll make sure I segregate my waste. And until then, I’ll try to convince my hosts to do it wherever I go. No human should have to sort through someone else’s waste all day, even if they do it with gratitude. I also heard from the manager later, that if more people segregated their waste, they’d be able to recycle and compost so much more. Things we seldom think about as we go about our privileged lives 🤔
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This post is part of my #voicesofruralIndia series where I hope to challenge myself to take more portrait photos and share stories of ordinary people I meet on my travels. .
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Shot on #iphone8plus .
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#theshootingstar #storiesofindia #goa #ruralindia #sustainabilityindia



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Shivya Nath

Talented

My name is Shivya Nath, and at age 23 (in 2011), I quit my corporate job to travel the world. I live a nomadic life, seek adventures off the beaten path, and work on the go to fund my travels. The Shooting Star is the home of all my travels, and I hope to inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and discover the world. Come with me?