Cry for help from the slums
About two weeks ago, the chief of a community in Freetown’s largest slum turned to our employees for help: Due to a collapsed wall and broken water pipes a stream of garbage stemming from a close-by community flooded his neighborhood entirely and made the debris rest knee-deep between the houses. Shortly after the incident, the (small) Cap Anamur team met with the residents and the Chief in the affected slum to assess the situation. While standing up to their knees in the garbage it was clear to everyone that action had to be taken quickly because dirt and garbage attract rats and cockroaches and drastically increase the chance of disease outbreaks.
A particular “cleaning-week”
Together with some local employees the Cap Anamur team organized some garbage bags, shovels and buckets and motivated as many hands as possible to help with the cleanup. In the slums of Freetown there is neither a solid waste management, nor a service collecting and removing the large mountains of garbage. As a result, the inhabitants of the slum have always collected their rubbish and disposed it off at informal places. “The slum lies directly at the sea and the people build large stone ramparts to prevent the garbage from ending up at the shore and eventually in the sea. Later the accrued garbage piles are covered with stones and rubble, which is currently the best way until an ultimate solution is found for solid waste disposal. The garbage dump is miles away and it is impossible for the slum dwellers to carry all their waste and dispose it off there,” says Cap Anamur administrator Rebecca.
In the previous week, all the residents joined hands and removed the garbage. On another visit to the slum a week later, our team was enthusiastic about the progress. The market place, which had been filled with all sorts of dirt a week before, was almost completely free again. Even the small stream that flows through the community had been cleaned for the most part. “With the prevalent temperatures here, removing all the garbage is a particularly hard job. But thanks to the many helpers, shovels and rakes the work was less difficult,” Rebecca said.
Our children’s shelter Pikin Paddy is located near the biggest slum of the city; hence we are in close contact with the residents and the chiefs of the nearby communities. Any time a bigger problem occurs, we get to know about it immediately and jointly with the slum dwellers we are able to quickly find solutions.