I have heard quite a bit about Garbage city from Egyptians and from a few things that I have read — but you can’t understand this city until you see it with your own eyes. There is no official garbage collection in the city of Cairo, and this community of Copts has taken over the collection.. Only 60 percent of the garbage is collected, and the other 40 percent is what you see on the streets of Cairo or floating in the nile… but the Copts (since they sort the garbage by hand) are able to recycle 90 percent of what they collect. That’s better than ALL western countries in terms of recycling… kinda cool if you think about it. But when we actually saw the city, I was in shock. Families — adults, children, teenagers, sort through the garbage bags each day and are living in the middle of a garbage dump. Children sat on top of 40 or 50 garbage bags and sorted through the garbage throwing various things into different piles. It is literally a city of garbage — and I’m not sure what I was expecting from the people.. maybe misery? But I was overwhelmed with happiness and joy from the people — all of the kids stuck their heads out of their windows and doors and ran up to us giggling and asked us our names and where we were from and asked to take pictures with us.. and the adults smiled and said, Welcome to Egypt! in a very sincere way, unlike much of the “greetings” we receive on the streets of downtown Cairo. I have picked up enough Ammiya (dialect) to be able to talk to the kids about their names, ages, etc, and to be able to tell them where I am from.. and all of them know how to say Hello! How are you! and they just stand there saying Hello!!!!! Hello!!! so many times and waving. It took us so long to walk through the neighborhood because we stopped to have conversations with almost every child and family along the way. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting going in to the day.. but I certainly did not expect the city to be a literal garbage dump, nor did I expect the people to be so joyful and welcoming. It was an eye opening experience in so many ways.
Garbage Garbage EverywherePosted by: Erica Nagi | June 22, 2011 | 1 Comment |
under: Week 3