Last week I visited the Rubbish dump in La Terminal. I had been told about the conditions the people and children are in, but I could never have imagined a place like this could really exist. Over this last week I have questioned whether to post these photos and tell you about the rubbish dump. I came to a conclusion.
The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God, will be all his joy and delight. He won’t judge by appearances, won’t decide on the basis of hearsay. He’ll judge the needy by what is right, render decisions on earth’s poor with justice. His words will bring everyone to awed attention. A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked. Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land. Isaiah 10
I messaged some good friends of mine earlier in the week and they gave me some advice. Through reading and praying I understood that I am a ‘messenger’, a ‘window to the world.’ I feel that it is my responsibility to tell you about the places I go to and give you any sort of chance to respond in ways you might choose. How will you ever know these desperate places exist if I don’t show you and tell you about them.
The following is what I wrote a week ago about a very desperate place!!
16th October: Rubbish is something many people I know, would not want to pick through all day everyday. Today I visited La Terminal, a place bustling with buses and people selling just about everything and anything. I went to a place where all the waste from the Terminal is dumped. As lorries of rubbish pulled up, I saw people quickly scavenging through the waste to find fruit and vegetables they could eat and plastic bottles and cartons they could recycle. At the time I couldn’t take in what was going on before my eyes, it was surreal I couldn’t believe that everyday there were people and children picking up, eating and playing amongst rubbish, this was desperation!
After 15 years of being away from the place she once lived, today Reina visited the terminal, she said the following:
It has changed a lot, it doesn’t look the same as it did before but it is still a sad place, you can’t say its got better because there are still children running about, working and suffering in the rubbish. There are still single Mums there, lots of children and maybe it’s more hidden but they are still growing up in the same environment that’s on the streets where bad words are being said and alcohol, drugs and violence is still happening.
Reina’s testimony has been videoed and is one to look out for. Her life is one I cannot begin to describe. She has the scars to show but has come out the other end a changed and transformed woman.
Many of the younger children will go to primary school but when they reach secondary school age the parents of these children cannot afford the school fee’s. A single mother who was born on the rubbish dump and has 3 children of her own, and another on the way said the following:
My name is Carla and I have been working here for 20 years. Life on the rubbish dump is hard. It is difficult for me to express the reasons why I am here. The greatest opportunity to help my children out of this place would be the opportunity to study, that of which I didn’t have. I would like them to have an opportunity to study and to have a better life, rather than them just being around here. I don’t want this life for them, I want them to have the opportunity to study. They have done some of primary school but it has been hard to continue paying for there studies. If you asked me for anything else for my children the best thing that would help them achieve their goals would be to study.
Above is a sweet little girl I met playing amongst the rubbish, she walked over to me itching her head, as she got closer I could see her hair crawling with knits! This made me so sad, I just wanted to give her a bath…(Next week I am going back with a team who will be washing and -de-knitting children’s hair!)
Alejandra who has been working with the people and children on the rubbish dump for four years below, talks about the greastest need for the people who work on the rubbish dump:
I first thought that the biggest need was to give them clothes and food but I have come to learn that more is needed than that. Many of the people express the need for education but more than anything I have found that the biggest need is the love of God because I have seen that the love of God is very powerful and can change the lives of people who are suffering.
Alejandra organises activities and there are times where we she can take children away from the atmosphere of the dump. She says “I like to be able to have times with them where I can take them to a safe place where I can use those times to spend quality time with the children and hopefully instill in them a desire to live, work and believe in a different life.”