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A Noble Man in an Ignoble Job

Bali Trash Scavenger Returns $30,000 in Jewelry Thrown Out with the Trash

(4/7/2013) Amidst the negative image of Bali and suggestion of widespread dishonesty, a young scavenger who makes his living from sorting through other people garbage at the local rubbish tip has made the news and given renewed hope in the basic decency that remains the predominant characteristic of the people who make the Island of Bali their home.

As reported by The Jakarta Post, the young scavenger named Ahmad discovered three boxes of gold in the back of a garbage truck in Denpasar, Bali on Tuesday, April 2, 2013.

Bedazzled by his find easily worth years of his meager income, he immediately contacted his Balinese boss, Made Raka, to seek assistance in making sure the gold found its way back to its rightful owner.

Ahmad, a migrant worker who comes from Sitobundo, East Java, told a national newspaper, “At first I thought they were boxes containing toys but then it turned out they were filled with gold jewelry.”

The owner of the jewels, a Balinese woman named Desak Ayu, rushed to the rubbish tip, desperately seeking her personal treasure trove she suspected had been thrown out with the trash. The jewels, valued at an estimated Rp. 300 million (US$30,000), were handed back to Desak who managed to correctly describe the missing items.

Pleased to have her jewels back in her personal possession, she gave the young man an undisclosed sum of money and a supply of staple foodstuffs.

When quizzed by the press regarding why he returned valuable jewelry he could just as easily have kept and sold, Ahmad said he would prefer to live a simple, honest life rather than cause economic misfortune to others.