Cleaning Day

It wasn’t my idea…honestly, it wasn’t.  All I did was mention how nasty the fans were, that it couldn’t be good for our students, and that there was actual dirt hanging from the ceiling.  Also, the rats and roaches thing.  Next thing I knew, a cleaning day was scheduled.

Not gonna lie, I wasn’t happy to have to do it but I was happy it was happening.  There are 2 reasons why I wasn’t happy to have to participate in this cleaning effort.  First of all, Aceh was enough, thank you very much.  I didn’t come to Indonesia to clean up years’ worth of other people’s nasty living once, much less twice.  Secondly, there’s a woman who is employed here to clean.  So what has she been doing for the past few years?  Because the dirt we’re talking about was not recent; it built up over years.  My observation is that she sweeps and cleans the floors of the living and dining area and the 2 classrooms…and that’s it.  She dusts nothing, she wipes down nothing, she moves nothing.  On several occasions, I’ve been into one of the classrooms after she has “cleaned” it and there were still scraps of papers and dropped pencils on the floor behind the desks.

I hear the more tolerant among you saying, “Well, maybe she doesn’t know she’s supposed to do that stuff.”  She knows.  I know she knows because if I ask her to do it, she will with absolutely no arguments at all.  For example, every single week, I have to ask her to clean the bathroom.  She always, always says yes and does it but she never, ever does it without my asking her.  Why do I have to ask her every single time?  You see what I’m dealing with here?  Of course, a part of the problem is lack of supervision.  She has been doing the bare minimum for years and getting by with it because no one has had a problem with the nasty conditions so no-one has said anything about it.  Well, yuh know seh me nah hide an’ talk (Jamaican patois translation: I speak the truth boldly).

No joke, if I was her on that cleaning day, I would have felt so ashamed to see what came out of here and that things got to that stage under my watch.  So ashamed.  She wasn’t.  She helped a little with the sweeping and wiping towards the end of the day (of course, because as I said, dusting and moving is not her thing) but that was it.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s a really nice lady but that’s not the point.  The point is, she’s not doing her work properly.

OK, I’m done with the mini-rant.

Cleaning day took place on the Saturday before Ramadan started, so on the first Saturday of June.  Three of our high school students turned out to help, which I thought was nice of them.  We were all assigned an area to be responsible for cleaning and once we were done with our assigned area, we would move to another area that was not yet completed and help out there.  With the help of a student, I took on the library.  When that was done, I helped with the computer room and the office.

To be honest, it wasn’t as nasty for me as the Aceh super-cleaning simply because in Aceh, I was the one who had to do everything, including dealing with all the really gross stuff.  Not so here.  Some of the students even cleaned all the nasty gunk off all the fans, taking them completely apart, scrubbing them and putting them back together.  By the end of 5 hours of non-stop cleaning by 7 people, I wouldn’t say that the place was sparkling clean but it was far, far better than when we started.  Thank God, there’s no dirt hanging from the ceilings anymore.  I had to swing my eyes past that one way too many times.

That’s one thing crossed off my list of discomforts.  Now, if only I could say goodbye forever to the roaches.


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