Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Make Someone Else Do It

Last Tuesday we took the kids on a trip. We were told of this two days before, and given an Arabic consent form to hand out. I was informed neither of what time we were going or where in fact we were going. I was simply told we're going on a trip. But such is the Saudi way.
We went to a activity centre in a mall, where the kids went into different areas to paint, cook and play. It was actually really good and there were staff running each activity, which made it easier on us. My class of boys went around with two others classes, which meant there were quite a lot of kids.

Look at my boys so good colouring in their pots
I noticed immediately that it was only the three western teachers accompanying the students to the activities. At the second station (cooking) we began to wonder where are those other teachers?
Then I looked out the window....

Can you see what I saw?
That's right! All the other staff-and I mean ALL the other staff- were sitting around drinking coffee and eating pizza. We went to see why and to see if someone else wanted to help the kids for a while. We were met with a crowd of stubborn and quite angry women who were unwilling to help out, based on the fact they'd been told the staff had it under control. But three classes of these boys with two adults simply isn't a good ratio. They needed us and it was probably just the company policy to say they didn't need help. In my opinion it was a bit dangerous to leave the boys unsupervised as they enjoy to run and kick and hit a lot. Being told they 'didn't have to work' however,  provided the perfect excuse for my colleagues to sit on their bums and do nothing.  
When we pushed the fact that someone else needed to go and help, the Saudis just started shouting at an Egyptian assistant, telling her she needed to go. Pass the blame, pass the responsibility.

As if this wasn't enough to prove the absolute laziness that exists here, I then witnessed this:

Guess what?
One of the Saudi women had brought her toddler along for the trip. As well as sitting on her butt the entire time talking to her friends, she actually got the maids to look after her child!

In the last week there's been a bit of panic at work regarding illegal workers. Illegal working is a massive problem here mainly for Pakistani, Indian and Egyptian women who come here with their spouses and then want to seek employment. It's generally cheaper for the employers to take them on illegally, rather than applying to change their visas, and so this is what happens. Not to mention that they then have no rights, which suits the companies fine. Last week there were rumours that police were coming into schools and checking papers, and that illegal workers were being thrown into prison or deported. As you can imagine, the seven women who come under the 'illegal worker' bracket at my school, were pretty freaked out and all stayed at home for a couple of days until things blew over.
The Saudis on the other hand appeared pretty smug about the whole thing. They seem to think foreigners are 'taking all the jobs.' The fact is that people from Asian countries such as India and the Philippines who work here do a lot of the menial jobs and are paid almost as slaves. Try 80 pounds a month for a full time job.
I'm so tired of the racism here. It's like they don't even see these people as real people. And the joke is, a lot of the people who come over here to work are actually Muslims and they are still treated like inferior beings.
I find myself fantasising about all the immigrants leaving overnight. Because I'm absolutely sure that the following day Saudi Arabia would grind to a very abrupt halt.

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