While working with waste pickers in Delhi the founder of the waste picker’s union, Shashi Pandit, gave me the contact information of a man in NYC who used to work as a waste picker in Manhattan and is now using his knowledge of recyclables to teach others how to create everything from jewelry to flowers out of trash. Kappo Kappino developed ‘trash worship’ to give people another perspective on discarded material, and has visited Delhi several times to learn about the work of waste pickers across the globe. Kappino is now partnering with Pandit to start a women’s coop in Delhi. Women who have worked as waste pickers their entire lives will be taught to make flowers from recyclables that they can then sell to supplement their meager incomes. More on Kappino, the coop, and the flowers that will ‘last forever’ can be found at his blog here: http://recycleandpray.wordpress.com/
For the girls who squeal and run in front of the camera to have their pictures taken.
For the young man who pronounced himself “assistant” and insisted on carrying the camera, and for his sister who made chapati and dal with paneer for lunch.
For the woman proclaimed a “special guest” and ushered in front of the camera where she obligingly demonstrated her work, glancing up shyly in the process.
For the kindness and generosity shown to a complete stranger despite enduring overwhelming hardship. For laughter and joy found even while pulling small plastic bags from mountains of molding onion skins, banana peels, potato shavings and tea leaves. The people are the inspiration.