Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Mujer de la Basura - The woman of the garbage
She comes to people's homes and collects their garbage and lugs it back to her house. At that point she goes through the bags looking for reusable items. I heard on the news just the other day that 40% of the food purchased in the USA is tossed in the trash or disposed of. I find that an incredible statistic. I sincerely doubt that is the percentage in Mexico.
What I have noticed as I drive by the little house that the "Woman of the Garbage" and her two sons live in, is that she is now putting plastic containers on the roof with roots of plants that are now growing. I bet by the end of the summer, she'll have a garden up there.
I'm sorry I don't know her name. We exchange greetings or a wave each time we see each other. I've noticed that one of her sons comes on Tuesdays to get garbage from my next door Mexican neighbors. The boy is always cleanly dressed and apparently has just come home from school. He nods to me when he sees me.
When I first moved here an elderly woman, and I do mean elderly, would come to the house to get my garbage. Josefina charged 5 pesos a week to pick it up from me twice a week. I felt so guilty about this that I started carrying it down to the corner (the truck does not go past my house) so that she wouldn't have to do so. Of course, in retrospect, I now realize I was taking money that she counted on. I wasn't savvy enough at that point. It's not an easy task to lug the bags down to the corner, wait for the truck and then hoist it up to the guy who is at least 8 feet away from you. Finally, after about nine years of this, I decided I had had enough. Javier, the gardener now takes it for me. Come to think of it though, I did enjoy smiling and talking to the other Mexicans who were down there too. I was always the only gringo.
It's just another facet of life in Mexico where you do things that when you lived in the USA, you would never have even considered being a part of. I used to think about that as I was hauling trash down the street. ""IF my friends in Houston could see me now" And, then I would chuckle.