Jumila walks with the grace, poise, and confidence rarely seen in a 10 year old. She has twinkling eyes and an infectious smile that is quick to arrive and slow to depart. I was immediately impressed by her, and know she would go far in this world (and still she may) if circumstances were different, if the whimsy of fate and geography had dealt her a better hand. In my limited #Hindi and her limited English, we talked a bit with hand gestures and I showed her pictures of my daughter and son. So similar, and yet worlds, universes apart...in the realm of opportunity. As Jumila gazed at my photos, her eyes reflected this reality, a flicker of comprehension of just how unequal this world, this life, can be and is. But, then, she inspired and impressed yet again: with a genuine smile few in easier circumstances could muster, Jumila bowed a gracious Namaste, hoisted her tattered, burlap sack, and continued picking, barehanded, through mountains of trash at the #Rishikesh dump. This is her life, and the life of her family, friends, and neighbors, all #Dalits, living in makeshift huts on the fringe of the dump: trash, piles of it, as far as the eye can see. If they could meet, I'm sure my daughter, Lila, and Jumila would have a lot in common despite the deep divide. They'd laugh and play and run and jump, just as Jumila did in as she worked the trash piles, sifting our recyclables. If only there was more equity, more true and real and meaningful opportunity in this world for all.

Jumila walks with the grace, poise, and…

Jumila walks with the grace, poise, and confidence rarely seen in a 10 year old. She has twinkling eyes and an infectious smile that is quick to arrive and slow to depart. I was immediately impressed by her, and know she would go far in this world (and still she may) if circumstances were different, if the whimsy of fate and geography had dealt her a better hand. In my limited and her limited English, we talked a bit with hand gestures and I showed her pictures of my daughter and son. So similar, and yet worlds, universes apart…in the realm of opportunity. As Jumila gazed at my photos, her eyes reflected this reality, a flicker of comprehension of just how unequal this world, this life, can be and is. But, then, she inspired and impressed yet again: with a genuine smile few in easier circumstances could muster, Jumila bowed a gracious Namaste, hoisted her tattered, burlap sack, and continued picking, barehanded, through mountains of trash at the dump. This is her life, and the life of her family, friends, and neighbors, all, living in makeshift huts on the fringe of the dump: trash, piles of it, as far as the eye can see. If they could meet, I’m sure my daughter, Lila, and Jumila would have a lot in common despite the deep divide. They’d laugh and play and run and jump, just as Jumila did in as she worked the trash piles, sifting our recyclables. If only there was more equity, more true and real and meaningful opportunity in this world for all @eddiebauer @pedromcbride

The Ganges , Rishikesh

View this photo in Jake Norton & MountainWorld’s Instagram ⇒

About the Author : Jake NortonClimber, guide, photographer, speaker, founder of www.Challenge21.com, and - most importantly - husband and father.View all posts by Jake Norton

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