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Sweeping the Streets for Gold

Street sweeping isn’t a glamorous job anywhere, but in India’s ancient walled city of Ahmadabad, which is famous for its jewelry, it’s a golden job of sorts:

Gohel isn’t a street cleaner. She’s a dhul dhoya, a dust washer. And not just any dirt. Although the streets in India aren’t exactly paved with gold, a few in Ahmadabad are at least flecked with it.

Motivating her are the estimated 5,000 gold and silver shops in this western city. As the 40,000 workers from the shops come and go, flecks of gold fall from their hair and clothes, to be scooped up by Gohel and other dhul dhoyas. Some enterprising collectors even follow workers home, raiding their sewer pipes for the muck from their showers. [...]

Once she and her mother separate the gold-specked dirt from the betel nut wrappers, cow manure, stained newspapers and other trash, it’s sold for about $8 per bag.

Mark Magnier of the Los Angeles Times has the story: Link

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March 12th, 2011

Stranger to the World


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