Yesterday I made a new friend...Her name is Anjali, and she's on the right in this picture. She is 24. She cooked my lunch, and placed a garland of jasmine round my neck, the heady fragrance almost drowing the stench of decaying rubbish. She is happy because she is part of a pilot project which offers her a change of career. She will learn to use an ancient treadle Singer sewing machine, to make industrial gloves. She will earn a living wage, but she won't do much living.
Her former job was as a "Commercial Sex Worker", for Anjali comes from a dalit family, and this was the only source of income available.
Now she is doubly untouchable, for my friend with the dancing eyes and the smile which communicates across any language barrier has AIDS.
And because she is the lowest of the low, in a developing country there will be no retroviral drugs, no hospice care.
Girls like Anjali die by the roadside, for dalit life is cheap.
But we held hands, admired each others children and laughed together as friends do.
Anjali is my friend, but in 5 years or so she will be dead.