We live on a very well maintained compound. I refer to it sometimes as a bird sanctuary. It is very green with nice lawns, high hedges, many types of palm trees and flowering shrubs. We have many birds living here and many traveling though the area on their annual migration cycle.
On site, we have the manger of the compound and about 12+ guys who cut the grass, weed, trim the shrubs and hedges, sweep the walks and driveways, empty the trash cans, repair any electrical or plumbing issues or do any general maintenance work that needs to be done in the villas and around the compound.
After M.E. goes to work I try to get out early before the days gets to hot and do between 5 and 7 laps around the compound. Going from end to end there is a oblong lop that takes about 12-15 minutes to walk. I tune into my podcasts, wear a wide brim hat and usually walk for about an hour. I have been doing this every day, over the past year. And every day I see most of the maintenance guys. They are all very friendly, we always greet one another and sometimes stop to chat.
All of these men are from other countries, either from the Middle East or Southeast Asia. All have been living in KSA for many years and all have families back in their home counties. There are millions of guest workers living in the Middle East, and in some countries the foreign workers out number the local population. This huge migratory population is relatively new to the Middle East. It started in the 1960’s when the oil industry really started to develop and has continued with the many construction projects and for the need to help in all aspects of work. There are 60,000+ foreign workers along on the Sadara project, the one M.E. is working on. KSA has a population of 30 million people including 9 million foreign workers. Currently 66% of jobs are filled by foreign workers. There is a 12% unemployment rate among Saudis because there is a reluctance by Saudis to take on menial work and there is a shortage of Saudi candidates for skilled jobs.
Most of these men return home every two years for a month to see their wife and kids. It is a hard life. The job situation in their home countries are dismal, they can make much more working in Saudi Arabia. I read foreign workers in KSA send $18 billion a year back to their home countries. I am sure you have read that many of the Middle East countries take the passports of these foreign workers and force them to work in bad conditions.
The guys on our compound work 6 days a week, receive housing and I assume do group meals. There are several groups that pair up and offer to clean the villas in the evenings after their work. They charge around $31 to hose off the patios and front entrance because of all the dust that accumulates each week and complete clean the inside, all in about 2 hours. We have our villa done every week because of the amount of dust that accumulates both outside and inside, especially if it has been a windy week.
I carried my camera around with me on my walks for the past several weeks taking pictures of the guys working around the compound. I first asked if I could take their pictures, they all accommodated and some posed. Below are the maintenance guys of our compound.