While Europe is keeping on living its identity and value crisis and on making immigrants the scapegoats for its problems, Africa keeps on existing with its contradictions, its explosions, its problems and its qualities.
Talking about contradictions, during a recent staying in Nairobi I escorted some hosts inside Dandora dump site. Even if it was not the first time for me inside the dump, the hell of smells, colours and sounds hit me like it was so.
A huge expanse, as far as the eye can see, smocking, stinking, and full of colourful plastic bags which, when wind blows, whirl into the sky, following the flights of some scavengers, looking for food in the rubbish.
A universe on its own, with its vivid life. People bent on bunches of rubbish, filling in huge bags with wastes of things; animals, dogs, pigs, scratching in the dirt; trucks throwing rubbish down; roads which have not been built, but traced by the everlasting steps of millions of men and women, trudging in poverty; makeshift shelters, made of rags hung on wood sticks; children laughing, running and playing on the filth’s sides.
About 6,000 children work in Dandora dumpsite, earning about 0.5 dollars a day, mistreated by groups of gangsters, who rule and manage the dumpsite, in partnership with famous political characters – nothing strange in Africa. These children have to “clean” rubbish of every material
which can be recycled and sold.
They do this operation with their bare hands, in a place where rubbish is burnt and produces dioxin: all elements creating perfect conditions
for infections, chest diseases and pollution, which damages our organs’ normal functions and causes untimely deaths.
This is Dandora dumpsite, the biggest open – air dump of Africa: more than 2.5 square kilometres of land, covered in waste and rubbish, inside
Dandora slum. The eastern part of the slum borders Korogocho slum, one of the main slums in Nairobi’s north – eastern suburbs.
These two slums, together with those of Kariobangi and Mathare, were born in Nairobi’s north – eastern part many years ago and they are inhabited by about 1 million people, living in shabby houses, in metal sheet shacks, often with no light, no sewer, no water.