Capsaicin is a colorless toxin that causes a painful burning sensation when it comes into contact with the skin, and can even cause chemical burns in it's pure form.
You're probably familiar with the substance in a more innocuous way however, as it's the chemical responsible for the heat of a chili pepper.
By now you're probably wondering at the point of this segue. Perhaps this explains it a bit better:
Yes, those are chilies. Millions upon millions of Guntur Chili Peppers, dried in the Indian sun. On the way back from the afternoon of meeting the children's home alumni, we stopped off at a massive processing facility and market where hundreds of men and women sort and bag and sell the surrounding countryside's signature crop.
The very air seared its way through my lungs, as an involuntary cough shook my frame. Those who work in this humble profession endure this for years, working with bare hands and feet, hardly noticing the burning.
As used to the peppers effects as the workers are, they still cough. The body has limits of what it can grow accustomed to. I'm told this place turns into a kind of hell in summer, as temperatures soar to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Truly a remarkable place.