Sometimes I forget that I live so close to poverty. My house is very comfortable. I have tile floors, a roof that doesn't leak (that I know of) and an inside bathroom with plumbing. When I need something to eat or laundry detergent for my clothes, I buy it.
Life is different for my friends across the street, and it just really hit me today. I went and ate a delicious lunch at Lenny's house in Bastion. Afterwards she gave Willian a big bag of detergent. Hmm. Why this big, black, unmarked bag full of laundry detergent? Then she showed us where she got it. We walked a few feet along the dirt road and pushed open a door made of rough slabs of wood. Inside the enclosed "patio" were bags and bags and bags of garbage. Well, not really. It was all the same kind of garbage. It was used laundry detergent bags. And women and teenagers were sitting on mounds of bags, tearing open the used detergent bags and carefully wiping the excess dust into their own black bags. Later, I think the cleaned out detergent bags will be recycled, and the workers get to keep the detergent dust that they collected during those hours. Some of them wore masks and one of my friends told me that her mom doesn't like the work because the detergent eventually stings her fingers. Can you imagine going through your neighbor's garbage, finding a tossed out bag of detergent and collecting the extra? Lenny told us that they also collect salt bags as well.
I think that black bag of laundry detergent that Lenny joyfully put into Willian's hands is the most valuable bag of laundry detergent that I've ever seen.
If you think you can handle more facts of life-- check out Heather's latest post.