There is so much about China that surprises me daily. And there is so much that makes me angry as well as leaves me speechless.
Last weekend I trimmed some overgrown trees in our small backyard. I had a great big pile of branches, leaves etc., heaped in our yard, and the gardener was supposed to send workers to haul it away. I repeatedly said there was so much that they should bring a truck.
After several calls, and missed appointments, I was getting really annoyed. "How hard can this be for workers to get this done?", I thought to myself. Finally on Friday afternoon, a single old man came to the door. He looked like he could be in his 80's, but he was probably younger. His skin was dark and leathery, and he had a small handmade blue knit cap on. He wore the blue coveralls that all migrant workers / cleaners seem to wear here.
He didn't flinch when I showed him the huge pile of debris he needed to clean-up. He had no tools with him, just a large sheet of vinyl canvas and some rope. I watched him from my kitchen window as he worked.
He worked methodically breaking apart all the large branches with his hands, bracing the larger pieces with his foot on the ground. He would bundle what he could together, working efficiently, and the rest he piled onto the canvas to carry it all out. He had to make 5-6 trips out to the curb, taking each load on his shoulder.
This old man, a migrant worker, just did his job with stoicism and fortitude. I am sure he's been through tougher jobs than this. I gave him extra money, and at first he turned it down. I insisted, knowing that he would only be able to accept the cash, if I persisted.
I gave him 100rmb, which is about $17.00.
This is probably more than he makes in a single day.