Men’s work

Submitted by Pam Baker on Thu, 2006-03-23 09:52.
Men’s work

One day at Kausani we went for a hike behind where the paved road ends. Walked a couple of hours out and back on trails like the one in the top photo. We were bird watching; there were dozens of different kinds, most of which we hadn't seen before. Zooming past us came these boys using tump lines to carry bags of sand. How much does a bag of sand that size weigh, we wonder. Sixty pounds? Eighty pounds? Whatever it is, it is a substantial percentage of the weight of the porters. They were not going very far, and in a little while they came back again, unloaded. They were curious about what we were doing, so I pointed to the bird, which they knew the name of. I offered them the binoculars to look through. They were startled at first and then they laughed with such glee! They started punching each other on the shoulder and teasing about which of them should go first. One after another they looked through, kidding each other as they did. Then they asked, in gestures, if I had a camera, which I did. He asked if I would take their picture, and here it is. These kids were excited to see their own photo. You can see that one of the kids has the binoculars. Digital cameras are fun; I could show them the photo right then, which made them laugh and tease each other even more.

As we wandered along, they went back to the top of the ridge, got another load of sand, came past us again, and back again unloaded. So we went through the whole routine again.

Especially here in the mountains, people do all the carrying, as well as all of the construction work. On the plains, trucks and heavy equipment do some of this but even there you see many people whose lives are hard physical labor. Yet throughout India, you see so many people smiling and laughing with each other. How many times in a day do you see strangers smiling?

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