You would be hard pressed to find an area that recycles more of their garbage than Cairo. The rubbish collectors are called zabaleen and it's a family business. The men and boys (who may go to school for 4 hrs a day, but that's doubtful) go out and collect the garbage from each house. I'm not sure where from exactly since there are no garbage cans at the curb like in the states. The menfolk carry the garbage in something like huge shopping bags balanced on their shoulders which they then deposit in the back of a pick-up truck.
The garbage is taken away and sorted through by the women and probably girls. That used to happen in the homes, but I'm not sure that's true anymore. Whatever can be sold is sold. The friday morning market is infamous. Someone described it as the place to find everything you've thrown away while you've lived in Cairo. I haven't actually been.
Things that get recycled from the garbage include paper and cloth. A project called the Association for the Preservation for the Environment (with the unfortunate acronym of APE) was set up to make use of this material. Some of the girls make recycled paper, rag rugs and bags, and quilts which are then sold.
We finally found someone that we can donate fabric scraps to directly (rather than having it go into the garbage first). I have been busy sorting fabric and scraps in each of my color-separated bins. Don't ask me why, but I seem to work so much better when all the like fabric is together. I hate just having it intermingled. Is that silly or what? So I've been putting fabric scraps I want to keep into little ziplock bags and putting the rest in a donation bag.
Up next are pics from my visit to the APE shop. I've noticed a change in the work that is being sold over the last couple of years. Used to be all the patchwork and applique was very western and traditional. Far too many teddy bears.
But now there are more Egyptian-inspired works, which is fabulous. This is a quilt featuring women's work. Sorry it's sideways. It's right-side-up in Picassa but comes out screwy here.
A woman driving a donkey cart.
A variety of animals. No camel unfortunately.
And this is what I love. The bags woven from scraps.
This is the one I bought. If it were larger I'd use it as my everyday carry around bag, but it's purse-sized. I am soooo not using this as a purse - that would just be frou-frou and impractical. Think it's gonna get turned into a giftbag.
This is the carry around bag I bought after I first moved here. These things are so incredibly sturdy. I use it for groceries, library books and have carted around 20 lb of alabaster.