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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.VD Addis décharge1 copie

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 Vd Addis décharge4towards 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.

VD Addis décharge2 copieLater 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.

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Gloomy wheather in Addis Ababa this morning. The

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VD Addis brouillardGloomy wheather in Addis Ababa this morning.Vd Addis brouillard3

The Ethiopian capital woke up almost entirely covered with fog. One could not see hundred meters ahead. Weird feeling of being in european countryside in early November… but with old Ladas roaring, donkeys who don’t care about the trafic and orthodox worshipers coming out of the church after the mass. The good thing is that, even though people drove as bad as ever, at least they did it much slower than usually.

Even the new headquarters of the African Union – financed and built by China – seemed to have disapeared.