research institute for compassionate economics

Worth 1,000 words?

Written by Dean Spears on June 24th, 2011
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My mother would gladly read even the worst blog posts, so long as I wrote them. But yesterday, she called with a gentle suggestion: maybe some pictures would help. After all, it is hard for our friends in the U.S. to visualize just how poor some people are. For many of us, it is too far outside of our experience to imagine people who have no shoes, whose babies die of diarrhea, who live in makeshift tents, who have never been to school, who have never used a bathroom.

So, today’s blog post — worth at least 1,000 of my words — is pictures from Diane’s and my work in the saltpans of Kutch, Gujarat. You can click on the pictures for a bigger view.

These children live in the salt pan. Because their families work there making salt, most very rarely leave the area that you can see in the picture. They get their drinking and cooking water out of the black plastic tank that they share — when the truck has indeed come by to refill it.

A home in the salt pan. You can see the wood cooking fuel in the middle.


When the teacher comes to work, and when they actually come to school, these children go to school in a tent:

… and when these children have school, it is outside:

They’re probably a little older than they might seem to somebody in the U.S., because their health and nutrition limit their growth.