What do I lack if I am poor, what do I have? What is Poverty?
Today focusing on this quote was very important as we had a very close interaction with some locals who live in poverty and examined the struggles they must face day in and out just to survive. As one of the most emotional and upsetting days for many of us glimpsers, it was also one of the most humbling. The day started off with a kite workshop where we designed and assembled kites for some kids to use later in the day. Once this workshop came to its conclusion we jumped on to the bus preparing for the ninety-minute ride up a steep twisting mountain, which provided some wonderful views of the lower valleys.
This initial arrival at the dump is one of the if not the biggest culture shocks and first hand views of poverty I have ever been exposed to. When we got off the bus we were immediately hit in the face by the overwhelming stench and smoke from the 20-year fire that has been ablaze since the dump was first put into use. This was followed by an intense surge of emotions as we noticed children some as young as five years old walking over and digging through piles of rotten food, used toilet paper, and exposed used needles all while barefoot. Keeping in mind this is while these children were surrounded by so many flies it was hard to identify certain characteristics of their faces was almost to painful to watch, some of our glimpsers actually broke into tears at the site.
After a quick introduction to a worker at the dump, we split up into five different groups and began to tour the dump and to question the workers to get a better understanding of their daily lives. We learned that not only were they receiving an unbelievably low salary but were also splitting the profits gained from recycling glass bottles between themselves and fifty other workers daily. Given that these minimal profits are not enough to support even the poorest of conditions, many of the workers had to salvage the dump for the most edible of the inedible food scraps just lying on the floor or on top of other garbage. Luckily we were able to leave the dump with some happier times as we handed out snacks, juice, and the kites we had made earlier in the day which everyone at the dump was more that grateful to receive.
After we left, we made our way to Constanza to meet up with another Global Glimpse delegation all except one deriving from California. They were more than welcoming as they fed us lunch, shared some fun stories, and helped us celebrate one of our glimpsers Jordi’s birthday with a big delicious cake. We stayed here for an hour or so until we finally made our long trek back to the fundacion where we prepped for our English Class.
After class we began our normal nightly schedule starting with dinner into self-reflection and finally ending with nightly meeting. Today was one of our more lively and emotional nightly discussions as we recapped the very intense memories, activities, and emotions of the day. However, overall I feel today was very beneficial and humbling for us all as we got to bond with each other even more and realize how grateful we really are to live the lives we do back in the states, and I could not have been happier than to be the “lider del dia” for today.
Best wishes and Thanks,