Car cleaning and Social Levels

This is a lesson in how things are here in Kuwait.

Today, my car is getting washed on the job. The janitors have been asking me on and on to wash it daily for 5 KD per month ($20 CAD). They wash it with water and wipe it down inside also. They each do about five cars. For perspective, a couple of weeks ago I got the car fully washed outside, underside and inside including vacuumed for KD 2.5 at a washing place in Shuwaikh. I’ve so far said no to the janitors. Then a co-worker explained the system to me.

The janitors are hardly paid anything. So they make a bit extra by washing cars. It is like a charitable thing here. The janitors also take up a collection at Eid which was earlier in November for a bit of a bonus. Eid is the equivalent of Christmas for them.

Finally when we move into a villa we’ll need to understand the system. Everything is stratified for the workers.

There are different social classes, education levels and of course, pay levels.

In the offices you have the janitor level: they don’t have too much education and not much english. Then there is the tea boy level, with better english and a bit more pay.

These people are employed under other contract companies.

There are are different levels of administrative and technical workers in the workforce. In my case the resource industry workplace.

I work with the TCNs (Third Country Nationals) from India and Phillipines. They are experienced engineers. Some have advanced degrees from western countries. For example the very nice and experienced Process Engineer that I work with is from India with work experiance in Engineers India Limited. He has been in Kuwait for many years and did his PhD in Australia. So despite this education and experiance, based on his passport he’s paid as a TCN.

So, when we get the house, to get help, it is even possible to get the janitor or tea boy level people to help part time. The critical issue with any domestic help is if they can be trusted not to steal as if they are in your house unsupervised and mostly alone. There is a huge wealth discrepancy!

It will be an interesting thing for the children to understand. For sure we’ll need help around the house and yard. The house and yard are are large and must be cleaned frequently as for a good part of the year a lot of dust accumulates in the desert climate.

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