Extreme poverty is a way of life in La Rinconada, a shantytown 17,000 feet above sea-level in the high Andes of Peru. It has been said, Peru is a beggar seated on a throne of gold. Well, in the case of this mining community the throne is one of gold and human waste. Its citizens endure life in what is probably the dirtiest shanty community at the highest altitude in the world; it has no running water, no sewage system and its grounds are contaminated by mercury used to separate rock from gold. Unpaved streets provide transit for stench-filled mud and there is no escape from the foul smell. Criminals on the run from the law are attracted to the area because there is no police presence. Many of the 30,000 residents who call La Rinconada home lack basic educational skills. Most are employed under an ancient lottery system - and verbal contract - called cachorreo, in which they work for 30 days without pay. On the 31st day they receive payment in the form of a sack of ore, which may or may not contain gold. It's a cruel lottery that can lead to indentured servitude. Life expectancy here is the lowest in Peru. The likelihood of death, for miners, is echoed in a local saying, “off to work I go, I don't know if I'll make it back.” The area's population growth, fueled by the unemployed, indicates there are many willing to tolerate the abuses of La Rinconada ensuring the ancient lottery will continue to be played.