This Pinay-At-Heart Gets Her Groceries By Dumpster Diving In Finland
When we think about food, we certainly don't associate it with garbage bins.
Not for 36-year-old Julie Forsberg Belleza, though. In fact, she's been dumpster diving for a while now and has even been documenting it on her YouTube channel.
Although Julie does not have Filipino blood, she considers herself a Pinay as she was raised in the Philippines.
"I grew up kasi in the Philippines," Julie tells Summit Media's OG team. "I am half-Finnish, and I am half-Thai. I have never been engaged into the Thai culture and the Finnish culture, kaya in my heart, talagang Pilipinang-Pilipina po ako."
When she and her husband lost their jobs working in the UAE, they decided to pack their bags and move to Finland, where they would be able to give their children a free and world-class education. These days, she works in the daytime assisting a PWD (person with a disability).
Julie first heard of dumpster diving from her boss, who told her about a co-worker who gets 80% of his food consumables from garbage bins.
Before giving dumpster diving a try, though, Julie made sure to research and discovered that it was actually allowed in Finland, and she wouldn't be violating any laws by doing it.
She's been dumpster diving ever since.
During a typical dumpster diving day, Julie rummages through a supermarket's biodegradable waste bins, where she sources food and pantry staples still in good condition. She and her husband have even chanced upon an unopened two-kilogram pack of spare ribs.
"Nakakakuha kami ng trays ng eggs, nakakakuha kami ng packs of meat," Julie says. "Marami kaming nakukuha na mga pasta, mga pizza, salmon, mga de lata na nakukuha natin. Nakakakuha din kami ng boxes of wine, boxes of beer. Kung ano po yung nakikita natin sa supermarket, nakukuha namin."
As much as possible, Julie gets items that are still sealed and unopened. The items also go through a rigorous sanitation process, so she's not scared of getting sick. She soaks fruits and vegetables in water and baking soda, while she boils unpacked meats in salt and vinegar. She also emphasizes that Finland's rubbish is well-segregated and the trash bins are very clean and come with a lining.
Some Filipino netizens have criticized Julie's dumpster diving, saying it is an embarrassment to her countrymen and that foreigners will just look down on Pinoys all the more because of what she's doing. Julie remains unfazed, however, realizing the blessing of food abundance in a world where hunger and poverty are serious issues. Moreover, she also considers dumpster diving a badge of Filipinos' resourcefulness and resilience.
"Through dumpster diving, I have realized na we are very much lucky dahil meron kaming napagkukunan dito while there are some parts in the world na maraming batang nagugutom," Julie says. "'Yon po ang lagi kong naiiisip. Sobrang grateful ko 'cause we are not at that stage and hindi namin dinadanas 'yan. Kasi kahit na nagdu-dumpster diving kami, it's still a blessing na meron kaming nakukuha."
"I don't think na binababa namin yung ating pagka-Pilipino. I think na mas tinataas natin yung ating pagka-Pilipino dito. Nagpapatunay lang kami na kahit gaanong kahirap ang buhay, lumalaban kami na wala kaming nasasagasaang ibang tao."
Watch the full video here:
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