by Joanna D.

There is no missing it: on the ground, in the ditch, in empty lots. Garbage. If one can afford it, there is a pick up service. People leave small bags hanging from their gates and someone in a little truck comes by to grab it. Very little truck. I don’t know what happens to it after that. (hmmm…)

This is the garbage truck.

If someone doesn’t have a gate they put it outside their door. In which case, it seems, that animals often come by and grab it; tear it open to find goodies inside. Yummm. Another scenario… chuck it into an empty lot or better yet burn it; plastic and all. I have seen dogs eating garbage, cows, birds, pigs and goats eating garbage. I’ve seen people sort through the garbage. Looking for anything useful. A whole different level of dumpster diving. People don’t seem to mind it either. It’s simply part of things.

The other day as I was walking to the Shala, I noticed a couple women cleaning up the street. It was so beautiful to me – to see people cleaning up random garbage – in this place. I don’t know if that was their job or if they were just doing it outside of their homes or what but, they were smiling and talking to each other just picking up garbage. It seems such an endless, impossible task.

That’s just one example of how people can be. Doing things because that is what needs to be done. No problem. You do. So even though I look out at the street and see garbage everywhere… people do care. That’s what is so damn beautiful!! Homes are well taken care of. Large prestigious homes and makeshift shanties constructed of scraps. There’s a morning ritual here. Puja. Women washing off the driveway or entryway to their homes and drawing fresh rangolis (a pattern, usually drawn with chalk on entryways to homes or businesses), watering plants, doing laundry; colorful fabrics out to dry over clotheslines and balconies. Fresh flowers hang above the doorways and sometimes, the sweet sound of drums, bells and chanting echo through the air. Shoes off at the door. Respect.