It’s strange the things and moments you end up talking about most at home once you have returned from traveling. At the time I didn’t think I would talk much about visiting Manshiyat Naser (Garbage City) in Cairo, but little did I know it would actually have a deeper impact on me than I thought. I have already written my thoughts on visiting Garbage City in Cairo, but now would like to share more pictures from the few times I visited. Yes I actually went back more than once to a slum of Cairo. Even though I shared this on my previous post I will share it again so you will have an idea of what Garbage City is:
““Garbage City” is actually named Manshiyat Naser, but everyone knows it as “Garbage City” because it’s a city where the economy revolves around the collection of garbage. The cities trash is brought here by the Zabbaleen (arabic for garbage people) who then sort through it to retrieve any potentially useful or recyclable items. The living conditions are very poor and the city lacks any infrastructure. It does have streets, shops and brick apartments, but has no running water or sewage and minimal electricity. The majority of the population in the city consist of Christians that have come from all over Egypt in waves of migration over the last 100 years. Within the city at the end of it you will find one of the most beautiful and unique churches in the world. The Monastery of St. Simon the Tanner is the largest church in the Middle East with capacity of seating 20,000 people.”
The reason I mentioned that I talk about this often is because it’s one of the things that I am having trouble with now that I am home. I have trouble grasping what a consumer use consumer throw away society we have become. My habits have changed, because I have seen the damage we are doing around the world. When people ask me what moments changed me most, this is one of them. This opened my eyes to the horrors others are living in and the luxuries we take for granted at home. For example here at work we get free sodas, snacks and free water as well. The water is from a water dispenser and above it you can grab a brand new PLASTIC cup each time you are thirsty. I see people go through several cups a day. I have mentioned to them why not do what I do, bring a big cup from home and refill it every time. That alone will help cut waste, but of course to them it’s not a big deal, they don’t see where the trash may go or think about what it will do to our planet. When they ask me why I care so much I normally mention this, but like most things I mention about my travels, I’m sure it goes in one ear and out the other. Sounds harsh, but I’ve learned most people don’t care to change their ways and don’t think by just them changing their habits it could help change the world.
I still remember vividly my few visits to Manshiyat Naser, because before visiting I had never seen anything like it. Yes I had seen poverty, but nothing like this. Each time I visited Manshiyat Naser I learned a bit more and was happy that people were actually making a living from other peoples trash and helping recycle what they could, but it was heart wrenching to see the conditions these people live in to survive. By sharing these photos I am not trying to glorify poverty, but I am just sharing them to remind people of the realities others face around the world.
When I 1st saw this my heart sank… and I wondered how many of those plastic bottles were mine?
A truck transporting cardboard boxes into the city.
A close up of all the cardboard boxes in the truck.
A view of Manshiyat Naser from above. You can see the piles and bags of trash people have on their roofs.
A closer look at some of the trash laying on the streets.
Plastic bottles placed in huge bags.
A child living in Manshiyat Naser, he was very excited to see me there and asked if I can take his photo.
Colorful balconies that make up the homes of the people living in Manshiyat Naser.
An older lady putting laundry out to dry.
One of the many alleys/streets of Manshiyat Naser.
What the plastic bottles become after being processed. They turn them into smaller pieces to sell.
More shredded plastic.
The door to a home in Manshiyat Naser.
Another pile of plastic bottles. They will be sorted to be recycled.
More plastic bottles.
Coptic Christian carvings on the side of a hill in Manshiyat Naser.
A Coptic Christian Church in the center of Manshiyat Naser.
Think of every single plastic bottle you have ever drank from and put in the trash?
Here is a close look at what that looks like.
Children in alley talking while you can see trash all around them.
Homes and balconies of Manshiyat Naser.
Laundry hanging to dry.
2 dogs I found roaming the streets of Manshiyat Naser.
My feet walking through the trash that can be found all over the city of Manshiyat Naser.
Look closely you can see the legs of a worker that was sorting through the trash. He asked me to please not show his face so I made sure I didn’t by capturing the door.
Another alley in Manshiyat Naser.
A child sitting on a pick up truck filled with trash coming into the city of Manshiyat Naser.
In the mist of all the trash people still have stores. This is a fruit and vegetable stand on the corner of an intersection in Manshiyat Naser.
The main entrance alley to Manshiyat Naser.
Clear plastic sorted in a separate bag.
The plastic is sorted by color to be melted and sold by color to be reused by purchasers.
The entrance of Manshiyat Naser as I was leaving for the day.
I’m no environmental activist, but remember it only takes one to make a difference. Think about things you do day in day out and see how you can make changes that will help cut waste on Earth.
Have you ever visited a place that has left an impact on the things you do in your daily life at home?
POST ABOUT CAIRO
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- 60 images from Tahrir Sq. after the historical announcement of Egypt’s new president.
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- A side of Tahri Sq. the media/news do not want you to see.
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