Punishment As A Chance 2


Though there is an uncertainty in what I’m doing nowadays and I don’t know today if I have something to do next week when it comes to work, there is one thing that excites me in a certain way: people and places I meet and see.

When I was moving a retirement home a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t know that I would be hired to work in the kitchens of two retirement homes in another city. “Yay”, I said to Simone, “I’m going from millionaire to dishwasher instead of the other way around.” Simone immediately reminded me that I wasn’t a millionaire before so the way to the dish washing wasn’t that far.

OK, why this headline. Was it a punishment for me to work there? No, absolutely not. In fact this was the most pleasant work I had in the last two month. It wasn’t monotone and I met some interesting people, like William from Scotland. He doesn’t speak Dutch and I had a very nice talk during the day. To my surprise I understood everything he said, though he had this typical accent. Together with his girlfriend he will move to my city in a couple of weeks and we will have a drink.

Still this isn’t a explanation for this headline, but if you are still with me I come to this right now. When I was working there on Saturday and Sunday there where guys who had to work at the kitchen as a punishment. I don’t know how you call it in English if people got a sentence from the judge to work for social purpose instead of going to prison. These guys where 16 or 17 years old and I could tell after a brief look at the face of the first guy (worked there on Saturday) that he didn’t like it. He was very unsecure by everything he did. Blushed all of the time and was biting his nails. I hadn’t much of a conversation with him but seeing this made me think about his situation.

The next day there where a another sentenced kid. I decided that it was because of their age that they saw this punishment as a punishment instead of a chance.

After a while I couldn’t resist the temptation to explain this guy, who’s parents by the way came to the Netherlands from Somalia 16 years ago, how he could turn his punishment into a chance. I said: “If you do your work good and are motivated the people who are in charge here will recognize that and I’m sure you get the chance to work here for money. I don’t know what you did to be sentenced to do this work here and I don’t want to know, but as in every criminal action the hunt for money is involved the knife is cutting on two edges: you earn money by doing this and you don’t even have to bother to do something illegal, what by the way will never bring you on the side of the fence where you want to be. – I guess that your parents came from Somalia because of a bad or violent situation there. I don’t know their background but however I think you should better do something that make them proud of you rather than bring them worries. Think about it.”

I don’t know if it was wise to say that but I felt the urge to do so. Maybe this young fellow will think about it and make a change for himself and others.


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