Asphalt Blues: The Streets of Emiliano Villabon


Emiliano got up from the curb and tossed his cigarette to the ground. He went over to his cart and readied himself for the final trek. The two worn wooden handles came up from underneath him and struck him in the soft spot of his underarms. I saw him wince. The creases and wrinkles in his face criss-crossed madly across his calloused skin. For another day, he was a human mule. He will be 64 years old this year.

Emiliano Villabon roams the streets of Colombia’s capital scavenging for trash that he might be able to recycle. He lives close to an urban underworld of crime and drug addiction, but while many recyclers in the city commit themselves to drugs in order to cope with their misfortune, Emiliano likes his streets, stays sober and seems surprisingly proud. Continue reading on Beacon…