As a group, we all underwent an eye opening experience. We began the day with breakfast and an academic seminar. The theme of the seminar was poverty and was led by Suzanne. We discussed the five P’s of poverty which represent people, place, past, politics, and peace. We went through how each “P” is present in Nicaragua.
After our seminar we hopped on the bus and headed to the El Basurero Municipal. We were all unsure of what to expect from the dump. We spoke with a man that is a manager of the dump. He told us about the people and families that live and work at there. Most of the garbage from the surrounding area goes to the dump and is picked through by the workers. They find recyclable materials and sell them at the end of their day. One of the workers we spoke that made the most impact on all of us was a pregnant eighteen year old that already has a two year old son. Her and her son wore torn dirty clothes with old worn down shoes. She told us that she used to come to the dump when she was four but stopped to go to school. She dropped out of school at 15 because she got pregnant and had to earn money to support her new family. She told us that on a good day of collecting recyclables she will earn 180 cords (approximately $7) . After speaking with the woman, we met a group of four men who spent and lived there lives in the dump, trying to make a living. Although none of them liked to live this life, they still managed to keep a positive attitude with a smile on their faces. They slept under a small bungalow, and ate whatever was available. We all realized that we are more fortunate than we thought, and we had a sense of guilt for our selfishness.
When we got back to the hostel we watched a documentary called Wasteland which is about people who work in the dump in Rio. In the film they worked to create and sell art that portrayed the workers and was made of recyclable materials. It described the lives of the workers and one man that really stood out to us explained that “people always say its just one can, one bottle, etc. but 99 is not 100.” We all realized the effect we have on environment and that we are fortunate to have privileges.
After the documentary we walked to a pizza place near the hostel and enjoyed delicious pizza and laughs after an eye opening emotional day.