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I went with my own car to waste tour

the mid-nineties, I had to put the feeling, nothing moved more in my life. I didn't want to change something, but didn't know what. After the Dissertation, I worked as a botanist at the University of Bern. I organized everything, I've always done. Therefore, I decided to make a Master of Business Administration. After the intake interview in Lausanne, I had to decide in two hours time, where I wanted to study in Geneva or Lausanne. I went into the empty courtyard of the Uni and knew suddenly that If I want to change my life, then I have to go to Geneva. I had faith in myself, and allowed me to impress people easily. But because of the Professor who had interviewed me, to Lausanne, would have meant no change.

In Geneva, and then my life was turned totally on its head. In my class Sameh, an Egyptian. In 1997, after the MBA year, we were married, in 2007, we moved with two daughters to Egypt.

"I'm so allergic to the class system of here!"

it was clear to Me that I would not sit in the house all day. But a Plan I had. Since I have not observed that the people in our district plastic and paper threw in a ton of, but in front of the door, the interested, me. For five years I then worked at the NGO, which collects the waste and from the proceeds of poor families are supported. I often went with my own car on waste tour – the Wealthy and the police officers could not hardly believe it when they saw me, the foreigner behind the wheel in front of a loud Recycling almost!

So I came in contact with the garbage city , the waste collectors to the city, you actually would have to say, but recycling city. There Copts, Egyptian Christians live. You are allowed to keep, in contrast to Muslims, pigs. Therefore, they collected the organic waste and fed to the animals, so the garbage city was created . Today I have been organising tours there for foreigners, but I also try to bring Egyptians in the waste collectors of the city. Once I took the taxi driver, I'm often on the road. He didn't want to at first, but then he was astonished when he saw what a highly organised System. Because I have, in the meantime, in the garbage city good friends, I can show sometimes at home or in the Kindergarten, the there are now.

collect waste, separate it, and recycle it again: Copts in the garbage city in Cairo. Photo: Keystone

It teaches children that they are individuals that have rights, because waste collectors belong to the lowest layer. I'm so allergic to the class system here! With everything I do, I try to break it, actually every day. Maybe this is my task: Stereotypes and prejudices – in the past, I had a head full of it down.

With the support of the Swiss Drosos Foundation, we have now outside of Cairo in a socially isolated area – a societal taboo zone as the garbage city – an Upcycling project for women launched. Plastic bags, for example, they manufacture purses or pickle jars flower vases.

"I'm so glad I'm back then gone to Geneva."

Egyptian society is becoming divided more and more apart, people are increasingly defined by classes, and about their Religion. I'm sure I asked once a day, whether I was Christian or Muslim, for example in the Taxi. I always say: "I am a man." This is a good starting point for interesting discussions.

I'm so glad I'm back to Geneva. Sameh and I are divorced, but in friendship, physical contact – something that is very unusual. Even so, a taboo.


Created: 23.03.2019, 19:58 PM

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