May 16, 2014

In the Hood

The system of trash removal here is that there are large bins at various locations around town.  There is no recycling.  You bring your trash to the bin and deposit it there.  The city then sends out trucks periodically to empty the bins.  So, there are no individual bills to pay for the amount of trash you deposit as we have in the USA.  There, you pay a lot if you dump a lot.  Here, the bins are open and no one checks to see how much you put in the bin.  But taxes must be high.  I noticed on my grocery bill that I’m paying 9% tax for food, but 16% for meat and for household items such as sponges, soap and the like.  That’s a substantial tax.

Students painting the wall.
The other day I got tired of walking over trash that was tossed on the ground around the trash bin.  It was still lying there after the bin had been emptied and it was right next to the high school.  I put on a pair of rubber gloves and on one of my outings, I put on the gloves and picked up the garbage.  It didn’t matter whether anyone saw me or not; I had no idea whether or not they did.  But I just couldn’t walk over this garbage any longer and not do something.  Several days have gone by now and I notice that the street has been swept, and the schoolyard which had been full of trash is now cleaned up also.  Today, the kids are painting a mural on the play yard wall that depicts the history of the mines.  It is so great to see and I’m thrilled that they are taking care of their space and celebrating their heritage.  

Students painting the wall.
I’m sure this wall painting has been in the works and my cleaning up is pure serendipity.  Still, it’s nice to be part of the cleanup and taking pride in the sense of place.  Yesterday when I was walking home, a young girl about 6 years old ran after me and gave me a painting she had done.  How sweet.  I have enough Greek now to tell her my name, where I’m from and to ask for her name.  She is Sophia and was so proud of her painting and I was so honored to be given it. 
My faithful friends.

It’s delightful to be part of the neighborhood, all nine cats too who live with a woman who cares for them on the first level of the attached houses where I’m living. The minute I begin anything in the kitchen, they can hear me open a cabinet, take out a pot, open a bag of peanuts, or just about anything kitchen three levels up and they are at the window.  Nice to be part of the neighborhood and nice to be so well received.