Smith Memorial Student Union, room 327, 1825 SW Broadway
Filmed over four years, Garbage Dreams follows three teenage boys – Adham, a bright precocious 17-year-old; Osama, a charming impish 16-year-old; Nabil, a shy artistic 18-year-old – born into the trash trade and growing up in the world’s largest garbage village, a ghetto located on the outskirts of Cairo. It is a world folded onto itself, an impenetrable labyrinth of narrow roadways camouflaged by trash; it is home to 60,000 Zaballeen (or Zabbaleen), Egypt’s “garbage people.”
For generations, the residents of Cairo have depended on the Zaballeen to collect their trash, paying them only a minimal amount for their garbage collection services. The Zaballeen survive by recycling the city’s waste. These entrepreneurial garbage workers recycle 80% of all the garbage they collect, creating what is arguably the world’s most efficient waste disposal system.
When the city they keep clean suddenly decides to replace the Zaballeen with multinational garbage disposal companies, the Zaballeen community finds itself at a crossroads. Face to face with the globalization of their trade, each of the teenage boys is forced to make choices that will impact his future and the survival of his community.
Directed by Mai Iskander
Featuring a discussion with Ashley Tjaden, Recycling Specialist for the City of Gresham, and Lee Barrett, former manager of the Waste Reduction Division at Metro and owner of Eco-Logistics
Read the PSU Vanguard article: I dream of garbage: Documentary Garbage Dreams sheds light on recycling issues, March 11, 2013
Free & open to the public
Co-sponsored with the Portland State University Institute for Sustainable Solutions & Mercy Corps
Presented with funding from the Portland State University Internationalization Minigrant Program
The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages and religions of the Middle East. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI program, the Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library.
The medium of film offers incomparable insight into its subject. The Middle East Studies Center’s film series showcases the rich tradition of cinema in the Middle East and provides opportunities for audiences to view the region in new ways and to engage with potentially transformative ideas about the Middle East. The 2012-13 film series focuses on the theme, Being Young in the Middle East. October's screenings engage with 'Recycling in the Middle East'