Dumps Have Their Own Laws

Every little thing that can be found at the dump is valuable

Local beggars, who work at the dump on the outskirts of the town of Kudymkar, have a legend about the place of their work: someone found a pack of 100-dollar notes in a winter boot. It is hard to say, if it was true or not. Maybe, the legend was made up to give people a hope to find something extraordinary and to become rich. 

The dump of the town of Kudymkar helps about a hundred people: it gives them clothes, food and work. It is possible to make up to 200 rubles on a good day (a bit less than $10). Yet, one can find cash at the dump on very rare occasions. The largest sum of money that was ever found at the dump, was a thousand-ruble note, as people say, not a pack of dollars.

The people that live and work at the dump have their own laws. The events that happen there can not be compared to the ones of a common society. Dump workers pay all their attention to garbage trucks: when a garbage truck appears at the dump, it is considered to be the event of the day.

Leonid has been working at the dump for more than six months already. The largest sum of money that he has ever found during that time was a ten-ruble note. He does not hope to find something extraordinary. Like everyone else, he has a need to eat every day, but the man has no other source of income. Leonid collects non-ferrous metal scrap. "If I do not work hard, I will be able to make about 15 rubles a day, which is enough for a loaf of bread. Yet, I try to make about 50 rubles a day to be able to buy bread, cigarettes and something else." Leonid says. His largest daily wages made up 127 rubles. Leonid comes to work at the dump on a daily basis, but he lives in his wife's apartment: "There are eleven months left until I become a pensioner. When I am a pensioner, I will not be coming here. I will pay the debts for my own apartment and will move there." Leonid used to work as a driver, but then became a watchman: "I had to quit that job to stay alive. Men would come to steal non-ferrous metal scrap, and they would beat you up, if you dare to say a word. It happened so many times to me."

Every dump worker has an occupation of their own. Someone collects bottles, others look for aluminium cans. Then they go to a redemption center and sell the scrap. "People value everything that they can find here at the dump, every little thing that can be of use," an elderly dump worker says. "Summer is the best time for us, because we can get vegetables from people's gardens. But in cold seasons people try to find a piece of sausage, a piece of bread - everything. One can find good clothes here too. Sometimes, people throw out just stained clothes that can be easily washed. Life will always exist at this place."

Nadezhda Botalova

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Author`s name Olga Savka