Monday, December 27, 2010

A Different Kind Of Christmas....

This Christmas was a little bit different.
Mainly because it was 25degrees Celsius and spent in a place where Western Christmas traditions barely exist.

I went with a couple of friends to visit the Cave Church,
but to get there you have to take a taxi through Garbage City.

Here is the Wikipedia explanation for Garbage City...

Manshiyat naser (also known as Garbage City) is a slum settlement on the outskirts of the city of Cairo whose economy revolves around the collection and recycling of the city's garbage. Although the area has streets, shops, and apartments like any other area of the city, it lacks infrastructure and often has no running water, sewage, or electricity.

The city's garbage is brought to Manshiyat Naser by the Zabbaleen, or garbage collectors, who then sort through the garbage to attempt to retrieve any potentially useful or recyclable items. As a passerby walks or drives down the road he will see large rooms stacked with garbage with men, women or children crouching and sorting the garbage into unsellable or sellable. Families typically specialize in a particular type of garbage they sort and sell - one room of children sorting out plastic bottles, while the next of women separating cans from the rest. Anything that can be reused or recycled is saved by one of the numerous families in Manshiyat naser. Various recycled paper and glass products are made and sold from the city, while metal is sold by the kilo to be melted down and reused. Carts pulled by horse or donkey are often stacked 2.5 to 3m (8 to 10 feet) high with the recyclable goods.

The economic system in garbage City is classified as the informal sector. Most families typically have worked in the same area and type of specialization in the garbage piles and continue to make enough money to support themselves.

(all these bags are full of trash waiting to be sorted)

It was a very humbling experience.
To see how these people lived,
where they lived.
Children with no shoes sitting next to their mothers helping sort out the trash
And a young boy dancing down the street barefoot smiling
whilst blowing through his homemade paper horn.

It made me exceedingly grateful or all the things that i have.

There was a recent movie made called Garbage Dreams
which is a documentary on some teenage boys living in this area.
I haven't seen it yet
but i've heard it excellent
and want to watch it so i can learn more.


  1. Calling Egypt, Cairo specifically, home is such an experience...the duality of it is leaves me speechless.