We the People Love This Place

Where I began

As a seven-year-old child, I lived in India while my father was on exchange at a small university in Andhra Pradesh, and I’ve carried a question with me ever since. Why do we tolerate so much suffering? We humans are creative, brilliant, and inventive—why do we allow poverty?

The question arose from a particular event, although there were many similar moments during that year. One beautiful weekend day, my parents, my three sisters, and I set out in a borrowed jeep to a meadow on a hillside outside the city and spread out a blanket and a picnic.

It wasn’t long before we realized we were being watched. Slowly, a small crowd of children had gathered. Some were my age, with baby sisters or ...

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