The life of a street sweeper

We talked to a lot of government officials all week but I always love to talk to the locals or the people that actually live with the problem. I talked to he hotel staff about what they do with the garbage, the store owner, the rickshaw – but really wanted to talk to the people who do the work – the sweepers and garbage collectors. Yesterday, jumped on the chance in front of our hotel. You will truly appreciate what your work day looks like from now on, believe me:

  • Your scope is about 3 km of streets, full of bikes, motorcycles, people everyday – this is why you sweep from 6 am to 1 pm so you can move through the crowds. You likely clean the open drains in the afternoon on the same road.
  • You make 4,000 rupees a month (but supposed to make about 3x more which is maybe coming – think of me doing the Indian head shake right now) – that is about $60 a month.
  • You have no mask or gloves – and you collect everything on the street, and I mean everything with your bare hands
  • You have 2 primitive tools with you – a plain bowl and something between axe and plain stick that helps you pull it into the bowl
  • You pull this incredibly heavy, mechanical “can’t figure out what to call it” behind you all day.
  • You openly dump it at the end of the street where – with a very high likelihood that either animals will spread it out again, or rain will take it all out or wind will blow it – so you can start again.
  • By 2 pm, you have no idea anything was done on the streets b/c it is all back or re-trashed

And you start again the next day at 6 am, 6 days a week. How rosy does your office day look right now?

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