18 March 2016

 All for our families

Day in day out, year after year, garbage bags full of clothes appear in front of a particular white garage door. Why? A smile always spreads over the immigrant’s face who lives there when he finds bags in front of his door. It started with families living in the neighbourhood placing used but good clothes in bags for the immigrant to make use of. It got bigger and bigger. The result: Six containers sent to Ghana in about four years!

It took some courage to approach this person who otherwise doesn’t mix much with the people who live in the vicinty. Asking around, it turned out that even the neighbours hardly knew anything about this young man. The first questions in the interview immediately showed that Idris is a man with a big heart. At a young age he left his home town and his country in search of a better life. But it was not just a search for personal success... When speaking about his country and hometown his face lights up. Talking about the collection of items for his people back home and their happiness when they receive them enthusiastes him even more. Idris has practically set up a full scale used items collection to take back home and give away to the needy.

Apart from clothes which are preferred to be light due to Ghana’s tropical climate, Idris accepts Idris checking clothes before sorting after a hard day’s work Idris opens his garage door and starts sorting clothes according to age, gender and season and forms them in tight bales. Bales are packed in every nook and cranny of his house until he collects enough material and the necessary finances to fund a container to send to his beloved Africa, in his words “the gift of God”. He follows the container to Ghana to make sure that the contents reach the correct destination, personally taking care to distribute bales in the various villages. In his absence, other immigrants take over the endeavour and continue to collect/store the items deposited on Idris’s doorstep until he comes back to Gozo. Once back the sorting starts all over again.

In many of the neighbourhood houses, a black garbage bag lies in a corner in the garage, waiting to be filled with any unwanted clothes, no matter whether vintage, outgrown, or uniforms. This black bag has found its place alongside the grey waste separation bag which is taken out once a week. Oneman’s trash is another man’s treasure. And in this case it is literally so. The smile on the man’s face says it all.

Elenia Jo Xiberras
7 Yellow



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