…but a way of life.
I am talking about Manshiyat Naser also known as the Garbage city. It is not on the itinerary of places to visit by tourist. But on my third visit to Cairo it was on mine. The tour guide the hotel had hired for me, first pretended that he did not know what I was talking about. The hotel receptionist helped me out, and reluctantly he agreed to take me there.
“But you can’t get out of the car” he warned and I didn’t. I understand that while sorting through garbage one does not want to be observed, and even less, be photographed,
the reason I don’t have many pictures. I took them through the car window or when I was sure the person wasn’t looking my way.
The garbage city is on the base of Mokattam Hill on the outskirts of Cairo. Its people make their living by collecting and recycling Cairo’s garbage. The city has streets and shops and apartments, but it lacks infrastructure and often has no running water.
Garbage is brought to Manhshiyat Naser by Zabbalin (garbage collectors) and stored in large rooms where men, women and children sort through it, separating it into sellable or unsellable items.
Many families have lived here for generations and have made their living by recycling —
– RECYCLING a word that has taken on a new meaning in our Western World – it is to help keep our planet, and not to be wasteful with our natural resources. This, of course, is not the reason for the people living in the Garbage City. For a long time their struggle for existence has done what we are just waking up to. Hopefully the wave of RECYCLING that has started will carry them into a better life one day.
More from Egypt soon