One of my mentors told me a story about her work in Pakistan. She had been going through various job titles on paper as well as visiting the facility to see what exactly the people were doing. There had been a title of “Water Carrier,” which she wanted to better understand. At the facility, there was a person who would walk outside the facility, down the hill to the well with two empty buckets. He would return with two buckets full of water and empty the water into a container surrounding the generator. Then he would do it all over again. The water was used to ensure that the generators stayed cool (a function of critical importance at an electrical facility). It completely makes sense, but seems weird to employ someone in that way.

Here in Kabul, I work in an office with several Afghan Nationals. One is a translator so periodically we ask him language questions. Sometimes, he asks the other Afghans about words in English and Persian. Today, the other Afghans couldn’t answer his question so he turned to the two American expats in the room.

He was trying to figure out if there is an English word (or title) for someone working in the dormitories. Well, what do they do? This person “puts air in the cotton.”

What is the job title?

I’ll respond to answers in the comments section.

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