Today was maybe one of the most impactful days that we as Glimpsers will experience on this trip. Today we learned what true poverty looks like. We visited the local dump today in which we met some of the many people who live and work there. This experience was impactful because many of us, including myself, had never seen people who literally lived at the dump. The smell made us cringe and a million flies swarmed us, and yet those who lived there refused to wipe the smiles from their faces. The people lived in shacks made of tarps and wood poles. If they were lucky they had tin roofs. It was amazing to see how people who have so few material possessions can be so rich in emotion and quality of life. I used to think that being rich meant having money, but after this experience, I found that one is not rich by the materials that they possess, but by the connections they have with others and how they make the most of their lives. This experience humbled us all and we were surprised to find how similar we were to the people who lived there. Despite our differences in economic status and geographic location, we all share common dreams. Below are some photos of the dump and home of these people.
While at the dump we met some of the boys who work there and learned bout their work, interests, and aspirations. We shared some our own experiences and dreams for the future as well. The most shocking thing that we heard today was that most of these kids did not have access to education because of the distance between them and the schools. We told them about the laws in the United States that guaranteed a free public education to all children under the age of 22. Their response was awe; the idea of free education sounded unimaginable to them and they told us that those laws should be universal. They all wanted to go to school very badly and we could see it in their eyes that it hurt to not be able to learn. Most of them told us that they could not read or write. That’s what hurt us the most, these kids who wanted so desperately to learn were not able to and without education they were stuck. They had no escape from the nightmare they lived in. And I cannot stress enough how meaningful it was to see the smiles on their faces even in the inhumane conditions that were their everyday reality.