Monday, May 11, 2009

Garbage Village

There is a place in Cairo that is very interesting to visit. It is called "Garabe Village". At the sound of that you might ask, "Why in the world would I want to visit a place called 'Garbage Village'"? Some, might choose not to visit because it can be a very depressing place, and it can have a very depressing odor as well, especially when the weather is hot. But imagine if you were one of the estimated 50,000 people who lived there, and you really had no choice in the matter.
This area is called Garbage Village because the people who live there are the garbage collectors of Cairo. Some of them drive garbage trucks, and some of them have small carts drawn by donkeys or horses. These people wake up early in the morning, go into Cairo and collect the garbage, then literally take it back home with them. They then proceed to go through it and recycle what they can. Today, there is even a small industry of women who have become something of a cultural phenomenon because of some of their handicrafts using discarded material. The most popular items include paper, greeting cards (especially Christmas), and items such as purses and very beautiful quilts from fabric.

I have been to Garbage Village several times, and the people are always friendly, and usually have smiles on their faces. These are people who have chosen to make the most of their circumstances. The population here is mostly Christian, and there are several churches. These churches are Coptic churches, in other words, the Orthodox Church. The churches there are very impressive. One of the churches "Church Of Virgin Mary & St-Samaan" was built to hold 20,000 people.

Garbage Village and these churches are situated on The Mokattam Mountain. It is considered the only real mountain in Cairo, although to foreigners who visit, it is probably only seen as a hill. Because it is on a mountain, some of the churches are literally carved into and from the mountain. There are also many beautiful Biblical carvings in these churches and in this area. One pictured above is a carving of Lazarus as he came out of the grave after being resurrected by Christ, and the other is of Christ's resurrection.

The people of Garbage Village have recently gone through some very bad situations. The first was several months ago when part of the mountain collapsed on some of the housing. The second has happened recently. I posted on this situation just a few days ago, and that situation is the measures that were taken because of fear of the swine flu. Because most of the people in this area are Christian, there were lots of them who raised pigs, and as far as I know, all of the pigs in this area have been killed.

As you look at these pictures, please pray for these people who have very little and literally live amongst the garbage.

As I said before, some of us may not desire or choose to see a place called "Garbage Village", but if you are ever in Cairo, it is well worth the visit.

If you would like to know or read more about this fascinating place, here's a good place to start:


  1. This is a truly interesting post. How amazing to know that some many people live in that kind of state, we are very lucky in Europe and other part of the world but we often forget the misery on lots of part of the world!
    That open church is amazing, it must be really beautiful to visit.
    I'll take you as a guide if I ever come to Egypt, lol!
    Flo xx

  2. Flo, you are welcome anytime. It is a pretty amazing sight.

  3. That really makes you stop and think. I can't imagine garbage being dealt with by a group of individuals, rather than by the government. It's quite a comment on their position in society as Christians.

  4. Dedene, exactly! Now with this latest thing of the govt. making them kill all of their pigs, and they are even trying to make them move and take the trash further outside the city. These poor people just can't win. They certainly don't have the funds just to up and move everything.