We all love our hobbies, they help us go through the week easier, it all becomes suddenly much more enjoyable. I usually choose my hobbies based on two main reasons: the satisfaction I get from it and the opportunities it provides for making new friends. Collecting garbage for recycling in the streets scores high on both these domains.
Making new friends while driving a bike trailer is cool. I was already talking about this (#5 on why collecting garbage in the streets for recycling is the best job I ever had). And I want to insist on that a little because it’s actually a lot more to it than just making friends.
Shared knowledge is power
It’s also about raising awareness, sharing what you know about recycling and the pollution that comes from garbage. Not once, people stopped what they were doing to bring me plastic bottles, asking me what other things I could use. The other day I passed by a school when the kids were getting out and for good 10/15 minutes they were running around the trailer, picking up all the garbage around with me (recyclable or not, I just let them pick everything and sorted it out later), laughing, testing out if they can sit on the trailer. The older ones were explaining to the younger ones what recycling means and everyone was picking something from the ground and putting it into the bags.
The thing in Kuseibmund (the township in Walvis Bay) is that people litter all the time. Kids eat their sweets and throw the plastic in the street. Everyone does that, so it’s just considered normal. In schools, maybe teachers don’t explain enough about the idea behind recycling, about the time plastic, cans, glass etc need to disintegrate, that we need oil in order to make plastic, that the plastic gets into the ocean and kills fish, seals, whales…so how would anyone know and how could anyone be expected not to litter?
I still remember getting into big trouble with my mom back when I was 5 or 6 for having thrown a paper in the park. The reasoning was “Look at all these people who are now around you. If every single person threw a paper right now, how do you think this place would look like and would you still like to come here every day?”. She made her point and I started to be the one lecturing other kids around the block about that.
But we’re not born knowing all of these things, we need access to information or someone to explain things to us or an encounter that makes us analyze things around us, even if just for 10 or 15 minutes. We need to notice the situation, to start questioning what “normal” is, to understand that our actions have an impact. An old friend of mine used to say all the time “shared knowledge is power”. Especially when travelling, you constantly realize how many angles one given thing can have. So…share your knowledge, it might open other people’s mind.
I hope you’ll consider to add picking up garbage on the streets for recycling on your hobbies list. It is a very rewarding experience at the end of the day, satisfaction is high and many opportunities for new friends. On top of that, your buttocks will be sore every morning.
If you’re wondering what exactly the deal is, this is a project ran by bennamibia.org, an organisation that does cool stuff, I’d say.