Reconstruction

The neighbors of our guesthouse are rebuilding the lot-line wall to make it higher. When A4T rented this guesthouse, it was the only inhabitable building on the block. Still, about one third of the lots are just ruins; but construction proceeds apace on both sides of us here.

I took this photo in 2003 on Dar ul-Aman Avenue.The housing shortage at that time was exemplified by the reoccupation of the ground floor and far bays of an obviously unstable structure. Note the children sitting in the opening just to the left of the cart on the sidewalk. This building had been damaged in the factional fighting in 1992-1994, and had been left as a ruin as much of southern Kabul was for a decade. But note that the Avenue had just been repaved, and those are concrete blocks on the left, and new bricks on the right ready for use in rebuilding.

This is a building just one block up on the same avenue. Note that the last two bays have been restored, and the building behind is completely new. The shops in the middle of the photo are gate-fabricators, and you can see their products leaned up on the left. Still, no-one has hired the heavy equipment necessary to clear away the collapsed concrete slab on the left end of the older building.

The ubiquitous green bicycles of Kabul are made in China, out of iron. Often a passenger sits on the back rack, but I have seen this before: transporting nine tires at once. Tires are repeatedly repaired and when they are irreparable, they are used as fuel to fire bricks in the Bagrame area just east of Kabul. You have probably seen photos of that production process.

Two major means of moving material around Kabul are the flatbed cart and the wheelbarrow. The alternate design of the cart is to have no push-bar and hitch it to a donkey.

Sometime in mid-May of this year Kabul Municipality finally received some 1-yard trash boxes that are designed to work with a trash truck (which also arrived!). Solid waste was a serious problem in 2003 and continues to be so to this day. I will try to find out how the whole system is working out.

Images and text (c) 2006 Pietro Calogero.


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