The version of this story I like best is that a National Public Radio producer saw my blog posts (Egypt's Zabaleen & Competing Visions of Privatization, Cairo Itinerary, & Medieval Inner-City Redevelopment) describing our class trip to "old Cairo" in 2006, where we were hosted by UCLA PhD student TH Culhane (center in photo above, bookended by a Coptic Christian and a Muslim colleague), easily my most show-biz savvy advisee. (Though he attended Harvard, he seems more proud of having also graduated from the Barnum & Bailey Clown College.)
Connections were made over the past few months that eventually led to the NPR reporter Liane Hansen visiting TH's operation in the flesh, resulting in these two reports from two recent NPR "weekend editions," as part of their "Climate Connections: Solutions" series.
They report on the garbage collectors and recyclers, the Zabaleen, and other aspects of environmental degradation and urban poverty (and solar water heating -- TH's research topic) in the oldest parts of Cairo. Listen and learn.
The links take you to short written versions, and links to the audio; the audio reports are about 14 and 10 minutes, respectively. The slide shows are also worth a look.
In Cairo Slum, the Poor Spark Environmental Change (27 April 2008)
Slow but Sure Environmental Progress in Cairo (4 May 2008)