Nigel and I often imagine what life in a warm country would look like, the beach minutes away from our doorstep, blue clouds, summer rains, birds and flowers all year round, a heavenly dream!
40% of the world’s population live within 100 miles of the nearest beach yet their life is not filled with daisies and fluffy clouds in fact, they would describe it as hell on earth, a place where dreams go to die.
Saving The Hungry is back in the garbage dump, this time in San Pedro Sula, Honduras where over 5000 families fight to survive.
The San Pedro landfill is set high on a hill and the smell of rotting food permeates the air; you cannot escape the flies, the heat or the vultures. Parents trek up the hill everyday either with a child by their side or a baby on their back where they spend up to 13 hours fishing for food, cardboard or empty bottles. The babies are put in shoe boxes while they pick at the garbage, but sadly many have died from the heat or the trucks dumping their loads on top of the infants. Children start work around the age of 6 and with or without shoes they are expected to help contribute to the family’s survival. Many kids wear the scars of stepping on broken glass, rats or old needles, but this is their life, it is all they know.
Once the families find their treasures for the day, they are forced to sell it to the local gangs for measly pennies. The gangs in return put a hefty mark up on the goods and sell it to the local recycling companies. Across the country of Honduras, the gangs are making about $10 000 a day on the backs of those living in squalor.
But…… there is a ray of light in the darkness; our partners in Honduras have built a school in the heart of the garbage dump. They have given their lives to this community and their children and are recycling one life at a time!
Today over 150 kids attend school and next year will the first year they add a new grade 6 class, although the numbers thin out as the children get older. These kids are given one hot meal once a day but still many suffer from malnutrition. Abigail passed out in class because she hadn’t eaten in 24 hours and her mother had said to her “we have no food so wait till you get to school tomorrow” her skinny little body just couldn’t hold out.
We also saw a couple of kids napping at their desks because they have been working alongside their parents who prefer to work the dump from 5pm to 6am when it’s cooler.
We lie awake at night and wonder how Saving The Hungry can do more to help the garbage dump families? Not just in Honduras or Nicaragua, but all over the world. We have often felt insignificant when the problem seems so big, but we are learning that it isn’t about saving everyone, it is about helping one child and one family at a time. Together our impact will have a far wider reach than you think.