Don’t Throw Anything Just “Hoard” It

With the demolition of the houses around the Arat kilo area came a unique but gorgeous scenery and debris.

The old pots, mesobs, old traditional grinders, new grinders, tin cans, old couches, broken plates, old clothes, new clothes of the surroundings featured an eclectic mixture of used, old, torn and new materials.

It’s very difficult to imagine how all these materials fit in the house, especially in those one-room kebele houses. Looking at the materials, it is hard to tell what use each of them holds. In many Ethiopian houses there are many people who say there is a hoarding culture. Chairs that no longer function, old TVs, radios and mattresses are kept. Even though this might be a reality for many, there are also with a compulsive hoarding culture.

Among the many men and women who hoard is Beletech Ayele who collects any kind of plastic bags. The small plastic bags, termed as festal are folded in a specific manner and kept. Whenever one of her children asks for a plastic bag she hesitates to give the thicker better ones or will ask them to give it back.

She keeps things as much as new as possible as long as possible. Now with a lot of plastic bags in the house she takes some of the plastic bags to the church so the church can use them. It does not matter whether the materials are broken, aged or replaced, in the house everything is kept.

When clothes get old she says they will use them for the rainy season, during the cold weather it can be worn inside the house to keep warm. When curtains get old she finds a purpose for it sometimes using them as bed sheets. A woman who is in her early 60’s have the oldest traditional clothes which she wore at a young age which are now out dated.

She thinks these can be worn at home. In the house the new materials are kept with the old ones in harmony and there is a room for everything. Giving value to materials, she has a saying, “if you do not respect the old materials… ”

With these compulsory disorders some people have a spare storage room or on the other hand, throw everything everywhere inside the house like under the bed, in the kitchen, on the wall and use any space they have. Some people have different hoarding habits like people who like to hoard old newspapers, any metal with an idea of using it one day, music collections and books.

Some people accumulate anything and even when they move from one place to the other they want to move with it. An old woman, Egigayehu Kebede, took at least a week to move from one of their houses to the other. Some of the surprising materials included Genesis Farm yoghurt plastic containers and empty very small Vaseline containers.

The sentimental value these people hold for their materials is deeply rooted and often times they are sensitive about the issue and would rather not discuss it. In some houses the use and throw juice straws are never thrown away, tin cans are kept to put sugar, salt, or even plant flowers in, and those that do not have purpose are just kept in the house.

In many houses old newspapers are piled like the Das Capital by Marx and Leo Tolstoy’s works are kept for book hoarders. Whether the old electric materials are maintained or not they are kept to reminisce the old days or for the sake of keeping them, like the old Philips Radio.

Many people still have their childhood clothes whether the materials have sentimental value or not, one way or another many keep from the kitchen utensils clay pot, plates, pans, forks, spoons, pots to the main room living materials chairs that cannot be sit, tables that cannot be dined, rather are accumulated in the house. With this there are also people like Biniyam Fenta who hoards any and everything.

He has old books, exercise books that he used growing up, old clothes and music collections on cassette, CDs, posters of musicians and asks “why would you throw things?” Sharing his room with his brother, his side of the wall is plastered with different musician’s posters. It is not only sentimental materials but also things such as stickers that came with new clothes and shoeboxes that are kept. Everything has meaning in his life and he gives almost equally important value to everything ranging from a paper clip to a book.

Source : The Reporter

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