Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Indians sure are hard workers

Another thing that strikes me here is the desperation people have to earn money. I recently left Agra, the city that the Taj Mahal is in. It is a poor industrial city with alot of people trying to make a living from tourism there. I would walk out of my hotel and many many rickshaw drivers would run after me and offer their services for practically nothing. An old man on a bike rickshaw quoted 10 cents for a whole hour! I want to help them all since they are obviously trying to work so hard.

I had another conversation today that puts such a contrast to our views in the Western world. I am now in Kerala in the south of India. Many people from this region go and work as guest workers in the Middle East. From the perspective here, they are going to good jobs and are bringing back wages that allow them to build new big houses and provide for their families in ways that they couldn't here. From the Western world's perspective though, I just read yet another article about the way workers are treated in Dubai. In a region where the average monthly per capita wage is over $2,000 a month, Indians are only earning about $106 to $250 per month, accordeing to a recent Human Rights Watch report. Their conditions are atrocious and from my perspective it seems more like slave labor, but from a local Indian here, that wage was alot and it was worth it to give him a leg up at home. He did it for a few years and it was tough, but he didn't even seem to notice that it was a low wage. In fact, he had to calculate it and agree that is what he was getting paid.

India's GDP is estimated at $640 per year and over 30% of the people make less than a dollar a day so its no wonder that they are willing to work under those circumstances.

1 comment:

JA Huber said...

Your writing and images are so vivid, I feel like I'm traveling right there with you! What a journey you've had. What will you be doing for Thanksgiving? Be well :)