Saturday, April 21, 2007

Triple Digit Days...

Today's max in the shade - 100 degrees.  Min at night? 85 degrees ... are here to stay. Today was the third day in the past week that the temperature has hit 100 degrees in the shade. Muscat's spring is on its way out, and another blazing summer is almost here! I hit the beach at lunchtime as usual today, pounding out my regular jogging route down the beach as I listened to the latest technology podcast downloaded onto my iPod.

On the return leg, I passed construction laborers in their characteristic blue overalls, taking a break from the sun under trees and in the shade of bushes. It sunk in again how fortunate I really am. To be able to work in the comfort of an air-conditioned office. To be able to live with my family, instead of traveling thousands of miles away to make a decent wage to support them. Most of the Middle East's labor force is composed of "guest workers" from primarily the Indian Subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka). These men often pay hundreds of dollars to buy the right to work 10-12 hour days throughout the heat of the summer, to live in squalid "labor camps", and to spend much of their income paying back the loan that got them here to begin with. It's a vicious cycle! Most earn a little over $100 a month, and then often have expenses for food and medical treatment deducted from that sum.

So the next time you're feeling a little unappreciated, a little warm after working up a sweat mowing the lawn, or just a bit down and out... remember the guys in blue overalls in Oman, and realize how good you have it!

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