Yesterday I had an eye opening experience that definitely fueled my belief in people and the way people can fight adverse conditions to survive. We often think of the entrepreneurial spirit as something that is used by people to escape the 9-5 and follow their dreams but in the case of Garbage City in Cairo the entrepreneurial is used by this amazing community to survive.
Not long after I moved to Cairo I started to hear about Garbage City, a fabled place where a lot of the garbage is taken and all useful items are separated and readied for resale and reuse to local buyers and international corporations This amazingly progressive initiative is completely people led with no help Governmental help and hardly any international help. In Garbage City the saying “One Man’s Rubbish is Another Man’s Treasure” has never been more true.
Garbage City is not a place that will be in any guidebook, on our taxi ride in we started to see the piles of rubbish littered around the edges of the city including a foul smell and even a dead donkey out in the open. At this point I still was not fully sure what to expect when we hit the actual city. As we drove deeper in we reached typical Cairo back streets absolutely spilling with life and wormed our way through the streets up to an area known as the Cafeteria.
The Cafeteria was at the highest point of the city and it was here that we started our education. The minute we stepped out we was greeted with nothing but friendly smiles, broken English and a real sense of joy from the locals. Although the ride in started bad with the piles of smelling Garbage it was clear that there was something amazingly special about this community.