Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Cleaning

After work yesterday, I came home feeling all coped up from being inside in the office and wanted to do something outside, to be in the great sun. I decided while walking home that I will put on some gloves and hit the streets to pick up trash. I've been wanting to do so in a very long time. Compared to other villages I've been to in Moldova, I think Gura Galbenei is relatively clean, however there are still a lot of trash everywhere! I've talked with a lot of people about organizing a local clean up day, and everyone says there is already a day dedicated for that, but no one has ever given me a concrete answer as to when or how it's organized.

Well, after work I walked outside with my gloves ready. My host dad asked me where I was going, looking at me strangely. I told him, "I'm going to go pick up trash." At this, he blurted out laughing. He said that I can't do that. People would think I'm insane, even made a joke about a local lady who normally walks around talking to her nonexistence phone, is normally the one who picks up the trash. I got caught off guard. Really? Is it such an abnormal thing for someone to pick up trash? Why and how did that stereotype get placed? Now I know why the trash stays put, because no one wants to take on the responsibility to do anything about it. I held my ground, I told him, it's not such a crazy idea, I'm just going to be on our road, and besides I'm doing an ecological good deed. Finally he gave way, though he insisted that I restrain to just around our house.

This is such a WEIRD concept to me. Is it because I'm a lady and ladies do not steep themselves to that level of picking trash? Then how could they have ecological day where supposedly everyone goes out to clean the village, like everyone has told me? What is going on?

Towards the end of the evening I'd picked up a big bag full of trash and while doing so, several things happened: Several children passed by and contributed trash to my bag, one even kicked the trash all the way up the road to add it to my bag, and an old lady stopped to asked me what I was doing, once I told her, she came over to literally kiss me on the cheek!! OK, now I really don't know what is going on here?

My question then, why is it such a weird idea for me to go pick up trash when the people I encountered are very accepting of it? Is it one of those secretive deed that everyone have to pretend they have this prejudice towards, but wishes it gets done?

Wait, I think I might have an answer to that. When I was done and came back with my imploded bag, my host dad asked me, "So now what are you going to do with it?" I said I don't know, I was going to ask you the same thing. He then laughed again. He finally said that he will burn it.

In conclusion, I think the problem is not in the fact that it's a strange concept of picking up trash, but they really don't have anywhere to put it, besides burning, and that includes everything, plastic, styrofoam...things that are really bad for the environment to burn. There is another choice, it is to take it to the village dump, which is literally located on the other end of the village. No one without a car, or even with a car will go all the way to other end having to trudge through the lame roads. It's literally a hassle.

Here is how bad the trash pile up can get.

Here is my host dad burning my collected trash.

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