They are the Working Poor

Driving around in Delhi has reminded me of a cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond. The driving is so incredibly intense.

Yesterday we went to visit some of the electronic waste dismantlers. As I opted out of taking my malaria medicine (I know, I know) I had to wear socks with my Keen shoes (honestly, it didn’t look as bad as Birkenstocks with socks!) to make it harder for the mosquitoes to bite – but they did.

The street we went to visit is where a lot of our video is going to be based on. The conditions where these people live is heartbreaking – no proper electricity, no running water and huge potholes in the roads with standing water covered in mosquitoes. The children were adorable and so curious. It was as if Sheila, Serena & I were superstars the way people flocked around us.

We sat on the blanket on the floor with a man dismantling copper components from circuit boards. Locals gathered around and shared their concerns. They said they’ve had their share of people who take pictures of the conditions, but aren’t committed to helping out.

The situation was so hard for me on so many levels, the poverty, the fact that U.S. e-waste is contributing to this but also their kindness. After telling us that they were poor people, one man had a child go buy us soda so that we could drink and talk to them. Even after saying no a few times – they insisted. Stopping at another location (with adults and children alike following us) people pulled up chairs so we could sit and talk. Young women watched through the windows and when I waved back at one of the older woman, a young girl excitedly waved back.

This area was full of people working and using their creativity and hurting their bodies in the process to make a living. They are the working poor. We have them in the U.S. and well, it just smacks in the face of those who believe, the poor just aren’t working – they are – they just are not being paid what they deserve or getting the respect they are so rightfully owed.

-Lauren Ornelas (Campaign Director of SVTC)

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People should read this.