This morning I was following the French minister of Development who was visiting few projects managed by the French development agency. And I saw this.
We were at the Addis Ababa waste collection center. This is where all the trash produced by the nearly six millions inhabitants of the Ethiopian capital go. It exists since the 1960’s.
Our convoy drove towards these people and made a turn to the rehabilitated area. Cleaner, less smelly, less crowded. While the minister was briefed about the rehabilitation project – in short, covering the waste and building a new site somewhere else – I walked back to the ragmen. The few Amharic words I know eased the tension. They allowed me to take some photos – but not of them.
Later on, one explained to me how these people are organised according to what they dig, select, and resell. It can be plastic, steel, cloths. More than six hundred people – men, wome, children – work or depend on it. In average, they earn 30 birrs a day. About one euro.
I promised myself to come back. But without any minister.