Night Soil

Old dunnyIt was many years ago when I first met him. He had just emigrated to this country from Europe and was eager to start a new life for himself and his family.

We spoke about work. He asked me what was the job Australians least like doing. It was an easy answer, for it was in the days when the septic tank had not achieved its current popularity and town sewerage systems hadn’t extended to the outer metropolitan suburbs. – “A nightman”, I replied.

Within days he had a job and twice a week he would replace the neighbourhood cans in the back yard outhouses. Because of the recruitment problems the job paid extremely well. Today he is a rich man.

So often we turn our noses up at the very mention of occupations such as nightman, street cleaner or garbage collector. It seems the work, and those employed peforming the tasks, are often treated with the same disdain.

Yet without these essential community services our health would deteriorate, our cities and towns would cease to function and our quality of life would disintegrate.

Next time you see the garbo, or the person who pumps out the septics and greasetraps, why not give them a smile and a wave. They are probably performing a more important role in the community than you or I could ever hope to achieve.

Our entry into Heaven will not be determined by the job we perform here on earth but rather, what we do for God and for one another.

Peter Mack

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