'Ghouta Dry': Handmade Cola Under Siege

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May 2015,
Misraba, Eastern Ghouta

Residents of the rebel-held town of Misraba in Eastern Ghouta, have created a factory to make soft drinks with little resources and very simple means.
The workers of the factory use alimentary acids and preservatives, which they find in pharmacies, and using a drill they mix the powder with water. Once the melange is ready, they fill it in second hand glass bottles.
It's been two years since Eastern Ghouta has been under a tight military siege imposed by the Assad regime forces and allies.

Transcription:

00:00 – 00:090
Hand-written sign in Arabic reads: “Local cola. Freedom tastes sweeter.”
03:38 – 03:41
Hand-written sign in Arabic reads: “Local cola. Freedom tastes sweeter.”
03:42 – 03:47
Hand-written sign in Arabic reads:
“Creativity grows as the siege becomes stricter. Ghouta Dry is the beverage of the siege. Cheers, young men of Ghouta.” SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Saeed al-Khawly, Factory Manager
04:41 – 05:18
“In the name of God, the merciful the compassionate; Given the suffocating siege and the very hot weather, we thought of creating any project that could alleviate [the impact of] the siege on people in Ghouta. We thought about it and found that the best thing to do would be to start a cola factory – something to cool people in this very hot weather.
Thanks be to God, we managed to start a cola factory in Ghouta with the simplest means.”
05:19 – 05:48
Q: Do the substances you are using have any effect on consumers’ health?
A: No, thanks be to God. We are using preservatives and some acids that are available in pharmacies; they are alimentary acids, not chemical ones. They [the acids] are used in food substances. The added preservatives make the beverage consumable for six months.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abu Abdu, Street Vendor
05:49 – 06:08
“Customers say it is very good and it is delivered to me. I am selling about 300 to 400 bottles a day. We offer them cold to customers. They are enjoying the beverage and quenching their thirst. It is hot in Ghouta and we are under siege. This is very good.”