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Dominican Republic: Life hidden within Duquesa, the unknown neighborhood nestled in the trash

Few have heard of this place. It is not on the map. But the truth is that right inside the Duquesa garbage dump, where 5,200 tons of garbage are piled up daily, there is a neighborhood of shacks built with materials found among the mountains of waste and acquired by its inhabitants.

It is called Arroyo Norte de los Cazabes. And it is inside the largest and most disorganized landfill in the country.

In plain sight it is not seen that behind the wooden pigsty, where cows and pigs rest, there is another world where hundreds of people live who are directly affected by the intense smell of garbage that is now a hybrid between waste and calcined materials, which little Little by little it has wrapped up their houses and caused some to flee to a safer place.

Access is difficult and there is no street enabled for the passage of vehicles. It is for this reason that you have to walk several meters to access the neighborhood where happy and faith-filled people live despite the few assets they have.

Divers, builders, housewives and children live there. There are few teenagers. The first two jobs are now impossible to do: the first because these garbage collectors are prohibited from climbing the mountains of waste due to the fire that has affected the landfill and its surroundings since Tuesday, April 28. While the second source of work was suspended due to the state of emergency that the country is experiencing due to the coronavirus.

There is only one way. On both sides are fences made of wooden planks and barbed wire. Upon entering, children are seen running barefoot, without masks or anything covering their faces, despite the intense smoke that prevents a clear vision and the call to compulsory use to prevent the coronavirus COVID-19.

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