It was even worse than in the pictures. I was suddenly in the middle of nowhere, 3,000 metres up in the Andes and looking at vast slums in the mountains, child labour, pregnant women working, industrial accidents and even fatalities in the gold mines. There was no water and the whole place stank of mercury. My first reaction was that I wanted to have nothing more to do with the whole business. But then I started talking to the people there, and listening to their ideas about how to improve the situation, and because it was a subject that attracted very little international attention at the time, they also asked me to tell others about it when I got home. It was clear to me that this was what I had to do.