To my amazement and initial un-expectation, every single one of the people that I’ve chatted to over the past month have been most generous with their time and their lives. As I’ve skirted the small talk and gone straight for the big, they’ve humbled and honoured me time and time again with open and honest responses. Not an easy thing that…talking straight to a strange woman armed with cupcakes and a camera. But talk they did and for that I am so thankful.
That’s every single one of them, except these two…
and name withheld
Not because they didn’t want to (I hope) but because they were working against time. See, these newspaper delivery men get commission for papers delivered and when your commission is only 20 UAE Fils per paper, you’ve got to get through a whole heap of news to make little enough money to buy a pie. I’ve just tried to work 20 Fils to American cents and I could be totally off here,(its late and maths isn’t my thing) but I think its around 5 US cents. Whether I’m right or wrong in that calculation, the amount remains minuscule and every Fil earned, an arduous journey.
Sheiker Moserab from India, delivers by bike. His own, bought and paid for from money saved in a previous job. He gets reimbursed for petrol but not for maintenance. His monthly basic stipend is insignificant so those papers delivered momentus. He parks his bike in a central spot and then scuttles from subscribed reader to reader to save stopping, starting and manoeuvering his bike in tight spaces. When his contract runs out with current company he would like to become a motorbike delivery person for Fedex or DHL.
In a time-tight fluster I forgot the cupcakes, but Sheiker turned that around and thanked me for talking to him and presented me with his gift – a plastic wrapped paper. “Your complimentary” he said after which he jumped on his bike and took off in a puff of dust.
What I got from the second man
was an Arabic paper or two, hung neatly on our garden gate. He gave me his name but didn’t give me the chance to ask for permission to publish it, so out of respect I won’t. These papers are all complimentary, so I’m not sure how much he gets paid and he certainly wasn’t hanging around long enough for me to find out. He was gone in a flash – probably trying to earn the next Fil.