With sweat reeling down his body Frank Diosi twists the tall grasses, picks an empty can, drops into his hand-bag, then moves on. He then walks up the hill battling the dust and the scorching heat, spears another empty can before dipping it into his bag. This is what employment means to Diosi since 2006.
Diosi is one of the oldest empty can pickers in Honiara since switching from a security guard 16 years ago.
“I used to be a security guard and every time I collected empty tins that people dropped at nights around the place I worked. I stored them to certain kilograms before selling. I realized that I was getting good money out of it,” he recalled. “Mind you it was only 40 cents a kilo then,” he added with a smile.
“I decided to quit my job as a security guard and became a tin picker. Since then I never looked back,” he told SBMOnline.
“It’s one of those rare jobs. People often look at you with strange faces but that’s my passion and that’s what I do for a living,” said, Diosi, who comes from Baegu/Asifola in North East Malaita.
He recalled that two reasons drove him into empty-can picking, to keep Honiara clean and its financial benefits.
“In picking empty cans I contribute in a small way in helping to keep Honiara clean and secondly I earn little money out of it support my family,” he said.
With the little money Siosi earns from what he describes as his job he’s able to support his family and put his kids at school.
“I treat my job as a way of life. Just like any other workers, I always work hard and honestly. Each day I spend long hours on the roadsides under whatever weather condition. That’s life and that’s my job,” he said with seriousness on his face.
He began picking empty cans when it was 40 cents a kilo until today where the price has risen to $6.
“I witnessed the changing landscape of aluminium tin buyers until today. It is now the highest price ever,” he stated.
With the price of empty cans hitting its highest ever level, Siosi admits that finding empty cans are tough these days as more pickers are now on the roadsides.
According to Siosi, regardless of the nature of their job they have set up an association of pickers.
He said given the kind of their job as helping to keep Honiara City clean they wanted to be more organized.
“Our wish is for any good hearted people or organizations to support us with transport to pick our collections from around Honiara to the buyers,” Siosi said.
He said their desire is set-up points around the city to pick-up their collections right to the buyers.
“If we are helped in this area (transport) then we will appreciate it as it eases our job. Each day we walk long hours and the transport will be helpful,” he said.
- Read Siosi’s full story in our next SBM-