Life is good, and getting better all the time #2

The FDC firmly believes that life is good, it's getting better all the time, and despite temporary setbacks, life will continue to get better for the foreseeable future.

Exhibit #2:

A better "rat trap".

As reported in US News and World Report, perhaps life for the Irula community, a low caste tribe in India, wasn't "good", but it's getting better for many - particularly the centuries old rat exterminators.

Chinnapayan Krishnan, 41, is just such a rat exterminator. Typically, his day used to consist of exterminating rats for the local farmers. Mr. Krishnan would routinely cover all the holes in a rat hole except one. Then he'd light a fire in a clay pot, and blow smoke through the hole in the ground with the hope of either killing the rat or rendering it unconscious. This was a particularly inefficient and dangerous system, as the rat frequently escaped, or the smoke blower suffered burns or smoke inhalation that shortened their life expectancy to the early 40's. Mr. Krishnan was paid by the local farmers about five cents for each rat, and as an added bonus he got to keep the rats for his family to eat as well as keep the grain he could retrieve out of the rat hole that the rats had made off with.

Now, through a small bit of human ingenuity, the old method has been improved with the addition of a hand pump to pump the smoke into the rat hole. The pump not only pumps more smoke into the hole making the process more successful for Mr. Krishnan (to the detriment of the rats), but it also is safer Mr. Krishnan's health. He has now quadrupled his income from 25 cents a day to $1 per day. More importantly, the illiterate Mr. Krishnan can now afford to send his children to school.

When you are stuck in the bottom of India's caste system, this is real progress.

Life is good.

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