Street Workers

A significant percentage of the Saudi workforce consists of cheap foreign labor from poorer countries in this part of the world, like Yemen, Sudan, or Pakistan. Many of them perform very menial jobs, like cleaning the streets and sidewalks – jobs that are considered beneath a Saudi man. What really gets me, though, is how people here just throw their trash down wherever they are for these foreign workers to clean up. I’ve really never seen anything quite like it. Even children are allowed or even told to throw their trash on the ground. This is something that I really don’t get – my husband says that they are providing work for these guys and it’s their job!
I liked the way these two workers had their scarves fashioned into turbans on their heads. Most of the time I see these clean up guys in blue or lavendar jumpsuits, which match the large garbage dumpsters here. I posted a photo a while back featuring one of the guys whose outfit matches his dumpster – click here to see it.


About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Clothing, Culture, Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Street Workers

  1. Hossam says:

    Look on either side of the road that goes to the airport (forget the name of it, but I think there’s only one)–the amount of plastic bags is unbelievable! It’s really sad. Actually, any big empty lot in Jeddah is covered in grocery bags. And those things last forever!

    Psh. I’m bringing my reusable Trader Joe’s bags when I come next month. I’ll do my part. =)

  2. Abhi says:

    Litter is a worldwide phenomenon – there are litter-bugs in every country and they are not exclusive to any race or religion. And it seems that young people are the worst offenders (or am I just showing my age?).
    It annoys me though to hear that argument put forward by these same litter-bugs that they are keeping workers in jobs. This is a “cop-out”, they are only kidding themselves!

  3. Hi All – This is something that I just don’t get either. Unfortunately this nasty habit of littering exists in every corner of the earth and not just here. In my book, people who litter have no pride and no shame.

  4. Former Resident says:

    I grew up in Jeddah and lived there for almost 2 decades – although it’s been a while since I was last in KSA.

    To be honest, when I lived there, it was actually quite clean and I rarely saw anyone litter over there. They provided dumpsters all over the place. It was rare that I wanted to throw something and couldn’t easily find a place to dispose of it.

    However, my perspective then was to compare it to my native country (unnamed to protect the guilty) – where littering was rampant, and was a much dirtier environment. Once a relative was visiting me in Jeddah, and while we were driving, he just threw out a bottle of some drink he had just finished. I hoped no one I knew saw me in the car with him…

  5. Jacob says:

    I have read about all the “foreign” workers in the Middle East…

    But, you know, we’ve got the same thing here…saw a woman throw trash out her car window on a main thoroughfare today, in fact.

    I don’t get it! I guess they do the same thing at home?

  6. I think people subconsiously know that they are not providing job security for those men. It simply helps remind everyone of the master-slave relationship that exists between the very poor and everyone else in the Gulf states.

  7. Geogypsy says:

    I am truly appalled by litter. Just can’t believe anybody likes to see it. Yet, I guess this is a way to provide jobs. I like the turbans.

  8. Fishing Guy says:

    Susie: That is a poor practice but I will say this. When I was in San Jose, Costa Rica the same thing was done and I had the same feelings then.

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