So after I enjoy a weekend of camping in the great outdoors, I typically come home and look forward to a refreshing, hot shower. And just like that, all of the smell, sweat, and germs are gone in a matter of no time.
Now compare that experience to this...
In Guatemala City, generations of families LIVE (literally, LIVE) in the city dump. Many of these Guatemalans never see life outside of the dump. They never get their shower and I doubt that thought even crosses their mind. No, they are worried about surviving another day. Another day in the garbage dump. To know that human beings live this way is shocking and terrifying and disturbing on so many different levels. I can only imagine the psychological effects this has on their lives. As outcasts even in their own city and culture, they most likely see themselves as trash. These Guatemalans who deserve to experience real, authentic joy and purpose in their lives from a God who sees them and knows them as irreplaceable TREASURE wake up to the sight of hundreds upon hundreds of vultures swarming over their heads in search of dead and rotting human flesh and animals to feast on. I can't imagine the types of things they use for a pillow at night... perhaps an old cereal box or a pile of sticky candy wrappers, whatever they can get a hold of for the night.
Tonight, I had the privilege of seeing the film, Reparando (http://www.reparandomovie.com/) at the Belcourt Theater here in Nashville. At the end of the film, audience members were told that we are now accountable for what we have seen. "You now know too much not to do something about it," we were informed.
And yes, now you are informed. Although hopefully, this is only the beginning as you and I both continue to research this unfortunate reality and begin to dream of potential solutions. And with a problem this enormous, it may take lots and lots of little solutions. But start dreaming...
Share this story. Share this knowledge because knowledge is power.
Here are a few facts to get you started...
- 10,500 people live and work in the Guatemala City dump as a means for survival. 6,400 of them are children. (http://www.pottershouse.org.gt/statistics.html)
- 53% of the children under age 13 that work in the dump do not attend school. 74% of teens between 13 and 18 that work in the dump do not attend school. (http://www.pottershouse.org.gt/statistics.html)
- Malnutrition from childhood results short stature. Rats, snakes, roaches, ants and lice flourish in the garbage. Dogs and vultures compete with human beings for the food that enters the garbage. (http://www.pottershouse.org.gt/lifestyle.html)
- Glue sniffing is also common problem among dump dwellers, as it gives a temporary high and deadens the smell of the dump. (http://dbooth.org/guat2000/small/day3_1.htm)