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The Fall issue of World Ark magazine might be in your mailbox right now. Go check!

This issue offers up a tour of India’s rural Rajasthani desert, where camels are as common as cars. Although it’s a predominantly Hindu region, the women here veil their heads and faces from strangers in a cultural holdover from centuries of Muslim rule. The villages in the state of Rajasthan are mostly collections of mud-walled houses and animal pens, the antithesis of modern urban India with its software companies and sparkling skyscrapers.

The red and pink veils Rajasthani women wear are filmy and elegant, but that beauty belies the oppression these coverings represent. Girls here are traditionally groomed to become meek and obedient young brides. Men and boys have free range on busy streets in the evenings, but women are expected to stay out of sight after dark.

Women here are beginning to shine, though, as they launch their own businesses and harness their own potential for community leadership. Panna Devi, a member of a lower caste, had to overcome the double hardship of being both a woman and an untouchable. For decades she was a manual scavenger, meaning she cleaned up human waste for higher-caste families who didn’t have bathrooms. In this issue of World Ark, you can read about how Panna Devi leaped over seemingly impossible obstacles to become a successful businesswoman and local philanthropist.

India is teeming with lovely, powerful women like Panna Devi, but did you know it’s also teeming with venomous snakes? Indians suffer more deadly snakesbites than residents of any other country, with 11,000 to 46,000 deaths per year. That’s largely because India is home to millions of small-scale farmers, and those rural farmers are likely to come into contact with venomous snakes. A fun/terrifying infographic in our Fall issue breaks down the types of deadly snakes around the world and warns you away from some of the hot spots.

Also in this issue, get some tips from talented Heifer International photographer Geoff Oliver Bugbee and learn about the unexpected magic of sheep sweat. We kick off fall with a recipe for Mrs. Linda’s Autumn Apple Cake. It’s delicious with or without the rum glaze, but why hold back?

Can't wait? Check it out online right here. Thanks for reading!

Author

Austin Bailey

Austin Bailey is a writer and editor for Heifer's World Ark magazine.

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