Statistics show that 34% of Indians still defecate in the open. It’s quite possible that that number could be much higher – which means that anywhere between 400-500 million Indians fall in this category. Armed with a few shovels, rake, and scraper, a group of volunteers get together to experience human waste scavenging – a practice that keeps our streets clean of human feces.

One volunteer shares reflections from his experience:

We soon got to work, first sprinkling the feces with earth. As I would bend down, I noticed there was the repulsion again – fuelled further when we encountered swarms of flies and worms under partly degraded deposits. But as we battled our way through the bushes, the thorns that pricked us reminded us of what people really had to go through. Clearly – this form of defecation is not what someone chose. Most women would have to wait until nightfall, or go deep into the thorny bushes to defecate in private. Immediately, I was filled with sense of compassion, and every question and resentment felt like it was washed away. As we continued clearing the area, I found myself moving away from the noise in my mind towards a deeper space within…