Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Suggestion for decreasing the roving hoard of dumpster divers...

Several months ago, Kinzi told me about a project that madrasat Konouz (her kids' school) was doing to help the Filipinas living within their consulate. These poor souls are stuck living in no man's land until either their employers release them or their families raise the money to get them home again. When we went, we met many of the young ladies most of whom told stories of non-payment of wages (six months into the contract), working from 5 am until 2 am every day with no pay forthcoming at the end of the month, refrigerators locked so that they wouldn't eat the food in the house and other such inhuman situations. One of the faculty at the Konouz's school started a program collecting aluminum cans to raise funding to feed and house them within the consulate. So, we began to collect our cans and give them to Kinzi. And then our next door neighbor's Filipina helper did the same... and then her upstairs neighboring Filipina did the same. Great ideas spread quickly.

But, imagine the unexpected upside. We used to be literally plagued with men coming to dig through our trash. While I have no issue with people finding usable items in the trash, these men would rip open bags, toss trash onto the ground, and grab the cans leaving a terrible mess. Much of that mess blew into our garden. It was terrible. But let me tell you something funny, I haven't seen a dumpster diver in about 6 months. Seems that's probably about the same amount of time we've been saving our cans for the Filipinas. I expect that with three families keeping their aluminum out, it became less lucrative. I expect our family alone is the largest consumer of beverages in cans (not me, but El 3atal does like his Diet 7 Up) on the block. And, since the dearth of dumpster divers, our trash-in-the-garden problem has improved significantly as well. We see far fewer floating papers, plastic bags, and general debris. If ever I've heard of a good reason for recycling, this is it... Forget the long term environment (okay don't but if that doesn't motivate you) and think of your trashy garden, teehee.

Happy Resuability!


At 10:30 PM , Anonymous kinzi said...

I love this post! The convergence of community activism, at several levels!

At 11:59 PM , Anonymous bambam said...

somehow i'm feeling sorry for the dumpster diver guy by the time i finished reading this post because while the filipinas have their embassy to somewhat take care of them the dumpster diver lost a source of income :(

At 3:05 PM , Anonymous Diana said...

Hello! I'm an American woman studying Arabic in Amman, and I'd like to meet some other American women. I enjoy your blog and am wondering if you have suggestions for how to meet people?

Thank you--

my email is valerie.diana at

At 8:18 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:15 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Kinzi, glad you enjoyed it.

Bambam, perhaps they can learn responsible collection (in other words, collecting cans without destorying the environment by trashing neighborhoods). Until then, I'm glad to see them gone. If only they would have been responsible in their collection, I wouldn't have been wishing them gone.

Diana, Welcome to Amman, I'll drop you a note.

At 1:43 PM , Blogger Sam said...

aw that is so sad about those poor girls...some people have no hearts...i hope they get what they deserve....good for u helping out...:)

At 6:57 AM , Blogger Ali Dahmash said...

Well the Phillipino community has been doing alot of tourble in Amman and thats why the embassy decided not to let them come to the country. Our maid ran away from our house after getting 4 months in adavance salary, bonuses, paid the residency for 1 whole year. We still have her passport and will nto give it back until she returns our money, fair, right?

At 11:08 AM , Blogger Sharon said...

There were similar problems when I lived in Hong Kong. It's not exclusive to Jordan and probably there are stories from everywhere you have imported labor, between any two nations. how many women are there?

I am wondering if you separated your trash a bit, do you think the problem would go down? So in other words, bags that have recyclable things while other bags with obvious trash. I'm thinking it would be cleaner and easier for them and reduce the problem for you.

Would that work? It's how we do it already here in France and it really isn't much more fuss. I simply have two trash bins, both in the kitchen and in the garage.

The other idea, this coming from a former airline person, would be to offer standby tickets at reduced prices for these women. So they would take available flights and not have to save up for a full fare ticket. Would Jordanian do that?

At 9:51 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Ali, we had a similar challenge in the family. But, for every maid who runs off after taking money, I'm afraid there are 10 more who aren't being paid (the problem we have next door to us). So, yes there are problems Filipina community, but there are also ones in the community at large.

Sharon, Jordan's challenges seem to be particularly egregious because of sheer number, I suspect. Last I heard there were something like 80,000 domestic laborers (female) in Jordan from the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, etc.

And, for us, we have found that keeping the recycleables out of the trash in general has alleviated the problem. After all, why should we do the work for them, teehee.


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