Freshly Ground Coffee in Bulgaria

Everyday I see groups of big hefty Roma women wondering the streets of Yambol. Not what you think as they wear bright orange florescent jackets armed with a couple of traffic cones and a broom. They look like Roma witches as they make their way to work have you guessed what work yet? Cleaning the street and by jove to they do a good job. If it wasn't for the Bulgarian habit of dropping litter wherever they want they would be out of a job - remember that for the moment.

All this takes place before 7:30 as I usually walk alongside them from the Gypsy quarters in the north part of the town towards the town centre. They have a mustering point to start with something that resembles a Steptoe and Son junkyard with corrugated iron fence surround and well used steps they sit on leading up to the broom and cone stock room which is basically a lorry trailer. The steps are used as a seating place for their lunchtime break some 5 1/2 hours later. As I walk home for lunch I see bottles of beer being swigged at with used plastic bags on their laps as plates. As always the Gypsies are even louder than the Bulgarians it seems they are argueing all the time, that's not the case - they are just talking in their own way.

When they work in the streets of Yambol they are non-stop, picking every trace of litter then sweeping the dust left not leaving a speck behind as if their lives depended on it. Looking at them working you would think they pay was on commission or faced a deduction from their wage if rubbish remains were missed. I actually dare not think how little they get in the first place but know that minimum wages here is 180 leva month (around 15 GB pounds a week.)

This morning as usual I was following a group of four of these brightly clad Gypsy workers, why they are all obese is beyond me with the amount of walking they do everyday. One was sipping black coffee out of a small plastic vending machine cup. she took down the final sip and flung the clear plastic cup into the road! Now this was true Bulgarian style but coming from a street cleaner was quite bizzare at that instant. I suppose she would clean it up later that day!

For a fleeting moment I just didn't understand this, but then it made conmplete sense - Of course, this is the Bulgarian Gypsies ensuring there is always going to be work for them, essentially and action of job creation.