The old seamster’s skip-house

Tesfaye Belaynen, 53, has been sowing pillows in Koshe Repi for 24 years. “I used to live near Dässé, in the Wällo (centre of the country). Then I moved to Addis Abeba during the famine of 1983-1985. Before that, I was a soldier. I couldn’t find a job, so I’m living here. Take a look inside… Yes, the färänj (foreigner) woman can take a look too. I am a craftsman.” Using reclaimed pieces of fabric that he picks up and stores, or sometimes buys from rag pickers, Tesfaye makes on average two pillows per day. In the background, we can see the old man’s home: a skip that has been turned upside down and “converted”. By allowing me to take a photograph of his shelter, this recovery worker offers a glimpse into his privacy and vulnerability.

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