How one person’s trash turned into the trip of a lifetime.
The Pope flew into New York on the same day that Adi Carter was flying out, so TSA was tense. Two guards called her over and started to search her luggage. “What’s this?” demanded one guard, pulling out a bag filled with 10 pounds of crumpled plastic and cardboard.
TSA relaxed as the traveling yoga teacher explained that this was all of her trash (not garbage, not junk mail) for the past three months. Adi was on a double campaign: To inspire everyone she met to stop being so wasteful-she’d cut her own trash by nearly five times-and to raise $20,000 for the Cambodian Children’s Fund, which shelters and educates children who were living in garbage dumps.
“You’re amazing, girl!” said one guard, waving Adi through. “Go save the planet.”
|Adi Carter sits with her trash, by Tim Knox|
They didn’t know the half of it.
“It’s going to be harder than you’d think,” she said as she prepared for her journey. “The kids know the trash dumps as their home and family.”
It’s also harder than you’d think to stop being wasteful. I still prefer Kleenex to washable hankies; still, until Adi inspired me, I was more or less complacent when it came to recycling. Now I pay attention.
Is Trash in Your Future?
I noticed two recent coincidences which indicate that a growing number of travelers are throwing lifelines to cast-off people. You might want to join them.
- Families at the Dump in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: A few weeks ago, my childhood friend, Judy Peterson, excitedly emailed photos of herself at the dump with some mothers and children. She had ventured away from her time-share holiday in Puerto Vallarta to visit the project, and quickly donated when she saw the education and medical work being done. Judy plans to return and help on her next trip.
- “Philippines: Grass-Roots Peace-Building, History and Culture,” a Washington Post magazine article told by Jasper Hu, describes his day at a Manila landfill during an “life-changing” summer course at George Mason University. The course will be offered again this summer.
How has trash factored into your travels? What ways do you know of to help?
Photos: Adi Carter sits with her trash, by Tim Knox.