Miguel Arias Sanchez
HAVANA TIMES — Anybody who hears the word “diver” has an image of a man dressed in a wet suit, a mask on his face and an oxygen tank pop into their back, a person who fishes or investigates the depths of the world’s seas, reportó dpa.
However, there is a new kind of diver in Cuba that has nothing to with this image. These divers don’t dive into the depths of the sea, but are found on the surface, without a wet suit, without a mask, walking through the city’s streets day after day, from the afternoon to the late evening, going directly to trash dumpsters to start working.
They stick their hands into all of that waste, without gloves or a mouth cover, looking for something they can still make use of. Sometimes, they are after food scraps for an animal they have at home. Others look for dissimilar objects, like clothes, shoes which somebody has thrown out and can still be used after being fixed up a little.
And so, they take out everything they consider to still have some use left in them from trash dumpster to dumpster.
But in Cuba, there are health regulations which ban this kind of activity, which as well as being unhygienic, gives a very bad impression to anyone who watches how a person submerges almost half of their body into a trash dumpster, even with waste in a really bad state. It’s not a positive or pleasant image at all.
It’s true that many of these divers have a very low income or are unemployed and this is the way they have found to make some money, but the price they have to pay is too high: their health.
There’s a slogan that says: Hygiene is health, but these divers, immersed in their struggle to survive, don’t seem to have read it or quite simply don’t care.
Note: although the majority are men, there are also more than a few women who practice this activity.