Friday, July 24, 2009

Wrong Place and Wrong Time

The man who has been cleaning our pool for almost two years -since we moved from the townhouse to this house - came and cleaned the pool for me again yesterday. It was off schedule - he comes on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday mornings. We had a party yesterday, and I wanted the pool cleaned. Lately, with the dust, it has been a mess. He is one of Rev's guys. Truly this man has had a very, very hard life. Not only hard, but rough as well. Guess I should have said good-bye to him yesterday. Little did I know when he cleaned the pool that I am not going to see him again. Not really sure of all of the circumstances around this, but I'm going to guess that he is a scapegoat. It isn't a pretty situation for him, whatever happened. Poor guy. I would like to think that I am wrong about all of this but I don't think so.

Our pool man is relatively young - I'd put him in his early thirties. He could even be a bit younger. Hard to tell by looking at him. He has one good eye. No clue what happened to his bad eye, but if he was in a fight or something when he was young, someone got the better of him. Very few teeth - the ones he has are brown. No, not yellow. Brown. [Stained from chewing something or other, too much smoking? I don't know. I'd be willing to bet, however, that he has never in his entire life been to a dentist.] Walks with a slight limp - one leg / foot either bothers him or has something wrong with it. Nice guy, though. Not a day that he has been here that he hasn't smiled and returned my morning greeting. [I go out as soon as he gets here to give him juice and water. If I make muffins or something in the morning, then I make sure he gets a couple of muffins and a glass of milk, too. Or a piece of cake if I've made one - or whatever. And leftovers. If there is extra something - I pack it up for him. I have seen what he eats - carries his lunch wrapped in a newspaper. Rice. That is not unusual. That is what many of the workers are eating, here, and that is how they carry it. Wrapped in newspaper.]

A couple of years ago - would have been the first December we were here in the house - we had moved in that October - 2007 - I made big, huge plates of cookies and fudge and goodies for a lot of workers. Along with any single-status men who work with my DH. I had also purchased presents - flannel lined shirts and gloves for the men who work for us - the pool man, our gardener, the houseboy we had at that time - Inom had been replaced by Sajeed at that point. I wrapped the gifts. I attached cards. And I had the big plates of cookies for them all. Along with a little "something extra" which I put in the cards. On the morning I gave the pool man his gifts, he had tears in his eyes. "Thank you, Madam. Thank you, Madam. You are good to me. You remind me of my Mother. She died when I was eight-years-old." [And, I'm tearing up now, just thinking about this scene - course it's probably my sinus problem and the dust... Yeah.] I have no idea what happened to this man's mother. But I can tell you from that day forward it was not easy for him. Like I said a very hard, very rough life. [I have often wondered if perhaps he may have suffered from "shaken baby syndrome" because of his eye problem. That, and the fact that he really isn't the sharpest tool in the shed.] No matter. He has done a good job cleaning our pool and has been nothing but polite and respectful to me. And, gracious.

So. Yesterday the pool guy cleaned the pool around eleven o'clock. Our pool is not the only pool he cleans, here. He cleans a lot of them. Everyone knows who he is - well, everyone - everyone that has a pool. He left to go about his business and work wherever else it is he works here. DH was playing golf [what a surprise!] when the pool guy was here. DH got home around noon and came in and asked, "Did the pool get cleaned already?" [As if you can't tell by looking at it.] I said yes, that it had just been finished. Apparently Rev had called DH as DH was putting home in his little Club Car and asked him if he couldn't go and talk to Security about something to do with our pool man. So, DH grabbed the truck keys and headed off to where he needed to go.

What happened is that some house was broken into. Our pool man just happened to be riding his bike by - going wherever he was going - and got stopped by the Security force who gave him the third degree as if he is the one responsible for breaking a window and robbing a house. Of course, I have no way of knowing whether he broke a window or not - since I wasn't there - but he certainly hadn't had much time to rob the place. He had just left our house! [Just how many TV's or DVD players can you carry on a bicycle?!!] DH explained to Security that he had just cleaned our pool. Big problem that he cleaned our pool and then did not leave the compound, apparently. Interesting that we are getting some grief about this as we are not the ones who sponsor him or sign him in. Although, to be honest, I have signed him in in the past. No idea who signed him in today. Wasn't us. Anyway, Security gave our poor pool man the third degree and after DH talked to them, he - the pool man - was told that he had to immediately leave the compound. Okay. No problem.

Don't 'cha know, after he parked his bicycle wherever it is he parks it, and was walking out, he got stopped again, by Security, who did a quick check of his "papers" and realized that he had just been stopped and questioned about the break-in. He is no longer allowed to enter our compound. Rev is going to have to find someone else to clean our pool. Although, really, that isn't as much of a concern for me right now as the situation of our current pool man.

There have been some problems here with break-ins and theft. It happens here, just like it does in any other community anywhere else in the world. Sure we're on a "secured" compound, surrounded by walls and gates and check points. But that doesn't prevent crime from happening altogether, for goodness sake! We have got a lot of teenagers on our compound. Some are what are called "returning students." They are the students that are not here during September through June, but once their school lets out, they return to spend the summer with their families. As well, there are a lot - and by that I mean A LOT - of local teenagers. A whole lot more of these than returning students. Yes. They are a problem. All of the teenagers. But what teenager isn't a problem? [Okay. There are probably a few that aren't...] Mostly the teenagers that are here that are causing the problems insofar as break-ins and theft goes are the ones that are bored at night and they break into houses looking for booze. [Not that they'd ever find it, but...] Which is not to say that there have not been teenagers that have burglarized houses and stole a lot more than that! Oh, no. Last year eight American students were caught running an entire grand scheme that involved breaking into homes and stealing whatever was not bolted down and then selling the goods! Every one of them was immediately expelled. No longer allowed to return. Just like that. Poof.

I find it hard to believe that our pool guy broke into a house and burglarized it, though. First of all he didn't have enough time to do it. And secondly, he was on a bicycle, in broad daylight. Did the robbery just happen? Someone was brazen enough to break a window and try to steal stuff in the middle of the day - on one of our "main" streets in this compound? And you - the Security guys - think it was our pool man? You've got to be kidding. I just don't see it happening that way. No one is going to do that in the middle of the day, on one of the main streets. Convenient, though, that the blame for this has been put on our pool guy. If he did it - then it was wrong - and he deserves to be punished. But I don't think he did it. And the Security guys must not think he did it either, or he never would have been released. He would have immediately been taken to jail. That is how that works.

But, instead, he has been expelled from our compound and will never be able to come clean our pool again. Guess in one regard I should be thrilled that that is all that happened to him. How is he going to make a living? Who sponsors him and who holds his papers? Is he destined to be another illegal worker downtown washing cars or something? I don't know. Perhaps Rev will have more information for us on Saturday. In the meantime, Security here needs to be looking for the real culprit!


  1. Rounding up the usual suspects and questioning suspiscious foriegners is safe. An actual investigation might find the TITS who done it and then they've have real difficulties. I have some sympathy for the security forces who are not allowed to follow certain trails.

  2. I hope we can learn more about it tomorrow, Steve. And I really, really hope that our pool man is not forever banned...

    I think that security is well aware of who and what the problems are here, vermindust. But as you stated... following certain trails because of who their daddy's might be [the culprit's fathers] is a big issue. And no one wants to lose their job over it.

  3. So when these workers aren't able to work, like what happened to your pool boy, do they lose their sponsorship and have to go back to wherever their home is? I guess I don't quite understand what "sponsor" is over there. Is it another person from the same country who agrees to vouch for them so to speak? Or is it a Saudi family? I love your blog, it really is insightful to life over there.

    Very sorry to hear about your pool boy. From the way you described him and the circumstances, it sounds very unlikely that he could have done what they thought he did.

    I think it was very nice of you to show him the kindness you did. It's probably more than he's gotten in his time there.

  4. There is no way he could have done what they think he did - but they obviously don't really think he did - or he never would have been released by them. He would have gone straight to jail. And then he would be deported - after he finished his "sentence." He had just left here - he didn't have time to break into a house.

    Yes - the sponsor is a local, a Saudi, who "vouches" for us. In our case, it is the company my husband works for that sponsors us.

    I hope to learn more today - from Rev - the man that our pool guy works for - to find out what will happen to him. And, once I do find out, I'll post the news, here.

    Thank you for the very nice compliment, Anonymous.


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