So, according to Korrespondent.net (RUS), street cleaners in Kyiv will now be making $400 a month. I've just posted a GV translation of some reactions to this piece of news.
On the one hand, you'd think that this is totally natural for a city with so many fancy cars driving around (and parked on sidewalks). On the other hand, you'd think it's kind of annoying for a country where doctors, teachers and just about anyone else are barely surviving on their "average nominal salary" of about 170 euros a month (or living off bribes, shamelessly).
I was making much less than $400 a month nine years ago, when I returned from the States and was tutoring kids in English. Then I spent a year and a half living on this new street cleaner's salary when I found my American NGO job: I started with $300 a month, got a $50 raise - ha-ha! - a few months later, and then another one at the end of the first six months, and that was it for the rest of my time there. I kept a favorite student of mine, too, tutored him till he finished school - but by then, it was no longer about the money.
At this American NGO, we once spent about $2,000 for hotel, food, drink, gifts and other expenses in less than a week in Luhansk, a nightmare trip to a nightmare city. So it wasn't like we were being starved there, no. And, as far as I know, the U.S. staff salaries differed from those of the "locals" - which didn't really make me jealous, except for when someone kept spelling the word "anonymous" as "annoynamous" and I had to clean it up for him. And then once we were talking to some "small businessman" in a Ukrainian region, and he said he needed $300 to make his business work, and that just blew my mind away somehow: if we stayed in Kyiv, or skipped our dinners on a few trips, and then donated the money saved to this guy, he'd have a BUSINESS running, but here we were, nodding and taking notes (or doodling, as some of us often did)... Our work, of course, resulted in some people being sent to the States to learn stuff, all expenses paid, which was totally awesome, but I don't think that particular guy got selected - because he didn't seem to want to learn, he just needed the goddamn $300 to be able to get started, and we weren't some microcredit place or something...
Not sure what I'm trying to say here. I hope to spend some time in Pushcha Vodytsya this summer again - I'll report on the garbage situation once I get there. Who knows, maybe the street cleaning field will now become so competitive that it won't be as futile to call the Obolon district administrtion to complain about the garbage as it was last year.