Madmoet Abrahams has been living and working on the street for more then 20 years now. He found a great way to make a living. Everyday you’ll find him in the streets of Cape Town, South Africa collecting White paper. 1 KG of White paper will pay him 23 South African Rand (approximately $2.35) at the paper scrap yard.
Per day he makes more or less 50 Rand. He is a hard worker. I met him in the pouring rain, which didn’t stop him from spitting through the bins in search for more paper. He saved money and bought a bicycle for 300 Rand last year. The bicycle, in combination with his creative re-use of a wheeled carriage for babies connected to it, allows Madmoet to make twice as much money per day! His big dream is to have a paid job and a house.
This friendly, clever and hard working man can be reached under the Sunlam bridge in Cape Town or somewhere on the street…
Gikomba is a part of Nairobi that is well known for metal working. I had been meaning to come this way for a while, and today afforded me the perfect opportunity to drop down into Gikomba and see what kind of enterprising activities Kenyans were up to.
I ran into a George Odhiambo, a bulk fabricator of everything from wheelbarrows to chisels. The chisels caught my eye, primarily because one of them looked a lot like a shaft straight out of a Land Rover. It turns out that they reuse multiple types of iron for their goods, including leftover pieces from old vehicles. Nothing goes to waste here.
Even more interesting to me (probably because it moved and did stuff with fire), was the bicycle-turned-to-bellows that kept the fire going that would heat the metal rods. It’s a fairly simple, yet ingenious contraption that utilizes old materials with a little bit of engineering. The thing runs all day, every day too, so it’s made to last.
The chisel pictured below is a stone chisel, used in quarrying and squaring stones in the quarry’s dotting the country (most houses in Kenya are stone). They cost about 350/= ($6) to make, and sell for about 650/-= ($11).
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