Monday, September 22, 2008

where are the young men in the village?

I define young men as those who are no longer schooling or undergoing a full time educational course and fall into the ages 16 to 30. I cannot find anyone in this age category wanting a job. I have been asked to find people to fill a numerous range of vacancies for women and men of all ages but I cannot find any who want to leave the comforts of their village to do a job. All those who want to work elsewhere have already gone.

This is why I seriously hold the view that we do not have an unemployment problem, where all those who want to work can find some sort of employment. A young neighbor who has some paddy land is now off to join a construction team in the Colombo South harbor project as the pay there is Rs1000/- a day. How can anyone compete with that for an unskilled job?

Those that remain want to work the tractors, the tsunami threshers or the new combined harvesters that are coming into these towns. Some have trishaws funded by their mothers who work overseas and so wish to do nothing very disciplined and are part of the youth here who are drunk, like the three who crashed the said vehicle on Monday night and then crashed a motor bike on the way back from outpatient treatment for wounds the next day, both times under the influence.

The serious need of the day is the fanciest bike to draw the fanciest chick and it is amazing how many powerful new bikes many of the youth have bought on credit, and the occasions in which they are involved in accidents are too numerous to mention. The quality and state of the roads and the darting of dogs makes it only safe to ride a bike at no more than 50kmph.

Getting back to the youth, their aspirations in the village seem somewhat a mystery, but it seems to make as much money as possible in as short a time as possible to get what they want. Some have joined the army, as the pay there is the best for the level of education and age. Others have found employment in construction jobs in Colombo paying as much as Rs1000/- a day. Still others have organized into small businesses locally.

There is some need to get married at a very early age here, as it is frequent that a man is betrothed before he is 19 and the girl a little younger, and like my neighbor is cutting into paddy land to build their first home at a age of little over 20 when most people in the west cannot dream of owning a home.

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