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EL ESPECTADOR

In Medellín, A Scavenger's Dump Turned Community Garden

The main open dump in the Colombian city evolved over decades from an informal home to scavengers to becoming a focus of communal resurgence.

The Moravia neighborhood in Medellin, Colombia
The Moravia neighborhood in Medellin, Colombia
Paulina Tejada

MEDELLÍN — In this sprawling Colombian city, a mountain of trash has evolved into a home and source of income for some 50,000 families. It is called Moravia, and has literally become a garden growing on what a city has thrown away.

One local resident is Francisco Javier Ramírez. As a child, he would play with buzzards and rats in the Medellín dump. He was seven years old when the words home, work and garbage merged in his mind. "Find something worthwhile while you're scouring for trinkets," grown-ups would tell him, promising to "pay by the day." Thus, before he could count, Ramírez learned to earn a living from the municipal trash pile that was.

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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