Today was Poverty Day; the day we heard the most about at the meetings at our respective schools. We were told that our experiences today would be ones that changed our perspectives and our lives. This was very true, as these experiences will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
Today was incredibly packed, with seminars in the morning, a field trip, and English teaching. Our first seminar was about the poverty in Nicaragua. We learned what the five P’s of poverty are: People, Place, Past, Politics, and Peace. Many different events fit into these categories, with Place being the most troublesome, which is what causes poverty. Our next seminar, which I led, was about English slang. This was one of the activities that we could do to connect with others who were living in terrible conditions of the dump, unlike ourselves. Lastly it was English teaching preparation, lunch, then it was finally time to head to the dump.
The dump was an experience that none of us were prepared for. We met two women from an NGO, called Club Infantil, named Anna and Madai. They explained how their organization helps those living in the The Basurero (The Dump). They provide resources to child laborers to try to better their lives at the basurero. They then showed us around the basurero and introduced us to some of the children and their families. As we walked in, we saw a house made from scrap materials with about five kids waving to us. This was basically how most people lived in the dump; in fragile shelters with smoke blowing in every direction. The smoke was from all the burning garbage, as that is the only way to get rid of it. We were introduced to a guy named Geraldo, who lived and worked there with his family. He has been there for fifteen years, sorting the recyclables from the trash. He said that they only earned about $12 from selling one large bag of plastic every one or two weeks.
After talking to Geraldo, we went to a field not far from there to play futbol with others who worked at the dump. It was super fun, even though we lost the match, 0-4. Those that were not playing met with the children and deeply connected with them. We learned that, no matter the difficulties in their lives, they were still some of the happiest people on Earth. Our goodbyes were hard, as, through the universal language of “fun,” we had grown close.
Back at the hostel, we had a self reflection of our excursion. This was very emotional, as the reality of the situation had not hit us until then. We decided that the best thing to do is to spread word about the lives of these wonderful people, and hope that someone will think of the next great idea to help them.
I loved being El Lider Del Dia on this incredibly educational and inspirational day. We all learned so much from the inhabitants of the Basurero. I hope that learning about our experience changes yours in some way.