The slumdog millionaires of Tana

Some day passed since we last updated our blog. The reason: we wrote too much. The protocols of our field research and our meetings. That made us realize how many meetings we had over the last five weeks: 2 visits in the slums of Tana, 5 focus groups, 14 days in the country side to visit existing projects and about 30 meetings with NGOs, foundations, public actors, energy experts and companies. It will take some more time to process all the information and impression!

Filming in the slums of Tana

Today we did something else for a change: we filmed the women that are supported by the Noah Foundation in their homes in the slums of Tana. There will be a charity dinner in Berlin later this year and we are going to provide the images for the event. Of course, Zafi asked all our “energetic” questions as well when he interviewed the women and their families about their living conditions. The two we visited at home lived in very simple, very tiny houses (rather huts) that very nevertheless kept very clean. They have light from a kerosene lamp or batteries, they fetch their water from a fountain that is about 15 minutes walk from their home, they have no toilet and during the rainy season they have to use a boat to get back home. We had to cross several “bridges” to get to their houses – bridges that consisted only of some wooden planks.

Buzzing economic activities in the slums

But nevertheless, there is a lot of (informal) economic activity going on. People search the city’s garbage for useful things, repair them and sell them on the market. You can also buy all kind of food, beverages and household goods like soap, traditional medicine or second hand clothes. But people also produce bricks, “renovate” flip-flops or repair cars. A young boy built toy cars out of Nestlé cans for his friends. Even some animal breeding is going on – goats, ducks and pigs are looking for food in the rubbish heaps. Some people also do fishing in the sewage canals – we decided not to have fish soup in the restaurants around the slum.

This blog was authored by Claudia Knobloch and originally posted on Energize the BoP.

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