Saturday afternoon, Christina, Dad, and I went to a garbage dump with a small, nearby church group. When we pulled up in the taxi, the first thing that hit me was the smell and the smoke from trash burning. I looked around, and I couldn’t even see the mountains that were so close because of the thick smoke.
|Some of the children playing in the trash.|
The next thing I saw was a little boy who was about two or three years old (his name, I later found out, is Jonathan). He was walking around in the trash barefoot, where there was glass and other sharp objects. He then picked up and started playing with a few pieces of trash that he found. Then his sister Pricilla ran up to him, laughing, and began playing in the trash as well. Thankfully she had shoes, but they were broken and about four sizes too big.
|Some of the houses in the dump.|
|The new building.|
Looking around, it was surprising how big the neighborhood in the dump was. There are so many people there because they go through the trash to see if anything is worth recycling or able to sell.
We then walked to a small building that consisted of a concrete floor, straw walls, and a canvas advertisement banner for a ceiling. It was empty when we came, and we put up balloons because they were celebrating this new building.
Here we put on a VBS for all of the kids who lived in the dump, though only about twenty came. We sang with them and taught them about the Lord. We had cake to celebrate the new building, and we even made some new friends!
|Christina and I playing games and singing with the kids.|
One of the little girls that Christina befriended didn't even touch her cake after all the other kids had quickly devoured theirs. Christina asked her why she wasn't eating hers and if she didn't like cake. She said that she liked cake, but she wanted to bring it home to share with her mom.
|Christina and Belen|
One other thing we did with them was had them write something they are thankful for. I thought, "They live in a garbage dump. What could they possibly have to be thankful for?" But they all were thankful for everything they did have: friends, family, God, health. It was incredibly sad to see the poverty in this dump, but despite everything, the kids who live in the garbage dump are by far the happiest and most content kids I have ever seen. There are so many incredible life lessons we can learn from impoverished children.
|Maria and I|