Children will play....
Trip Start Jul 05, 2010
8Trip End Jul 27, 2010
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Garbage trucks plowing their way through the thick mud…. walls of trash along the sides of the road…shack-like homes made of every material possible, all treasured from other people’s garbage….and lots and lots of people. Men marking the horizon the whole length of the enormous trash pile, right alongside the scavenging vultures…filling their giant bags with anything that might have value, some with animals to help move the bags…and children all over the place
Obviously we are outsiders but are there by the good grace that Lillian has earned through working with the children here. A large pond/small lake to our left with a river of trash running into it…floating waste receptacle, a part of Lake Managua when the rains are heavy, also one of the most polluted lakes in the world. We arrive to find a group of boys looking over the edge of the vertical drop into the pond, their ball has fallen perhaps 40 feet below into the toxic pond….debate over how/who will retrieve it…it is precious to them. We visit the childrens site, adjacent to the dump and the shacks of the `1200 families that call this place home.
And there are kids of all ages doing what kids do…..playing. Amazing to me, in such squalor the kids are shooting marbles, playing soccer, being shown how to make bracelets and small hammocks…anything to keep them occupied and away from the glue sniffing and our of the grip of prostitution or abuse. They have kids faces, sweet and occupied with their activity, fighting over the soccer ball, designing a shoot-out, looking for hugs and attention
I can barely take in the totality of this picture…I find myself unable to fully absorb my surroundings…I feel the need to respectfully look away from the piles, the shacks, and direct my eyes to the kids. No doubt there is a community here….people have their roles, there is a hierarchy, unspoken rules…devised power poles that glean energy from the city poles, a water system that diverts water from the city supply…the residents have carved out their world here. These are the recylers…their methods are not safe…black smoke from the burning of tires to retrieve the metal inside….chemical exposure….the garbage is brought here entirely unsorted; the valuables are retrieved.
In recent years, the city haulers began to remove recyclable materials before arriving at the dump…there was less value in the trash delivered to the dump site
It has started to rain. We leave before the mud becomes unpassable…its just about at that point. After losing the face-off with a couple of big trucks we’re finally back on the street. We get to leave that world behind…we get to wash our hands and eat lunch…we get to be safe. Don't we all deserve that?
If you want to learn more about Pronica and the projects, you can google up Pronica.org…click on La Chureca for the dump project. And if you’d like to donate money or spend some time working on any of their projects, there’s that option too.