One mans trash…

… is another´s treasure. But to say it here, at Bamako dump site, is to take it too far. More accurate would be that one man’s trash is another person’s survival.

I was on my way back from home from the University of Bamako when I passed this huge dump site just behind one of the university buildings. Out there, surrounded by smoke and the dirt, walks dozens of people, even children, in search for anything of value.

So I asked my translator to stop the moped and we went to say hi to one the women who were searching for plastic bottles among the rubbish.

I have to admit that it feels strange to call it rubbish, since she has been calling it home for almost twenty years now. Her old house fell apart and she´s been stuck here since then. I had so many questions I wanted to ask here, but also very little time. So we decided to come back another day.

There´s no city recycling program, or anything like it, in Bamako. But what does exist is something I call “spontaneous recycling”. That means that you can take anything you don´t want, but that might be of value to someone else, and just put it outside your home. It could be simple things like plastic bottles, or a piece of wood, scrap metal maybe, and I promise you that it will be gone in an hour.