Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008: Dump Living

Today we left for La Ceiba. We have been wanting to go to the dump there to see the community that has made it their home. Lisa Bradley drove us to the dump. She tries to help out there with a food program that provides one meal, twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. It was perfect timing for us to go on our last day so that Bryan could join us. Lisa rarely has a doctor with her there so she tried to put Bryan to work helping some people at the dump. There ended up being another American mission group at the dump to help serve the food so we didn’t end up doing that very much. We said hello to lots of people but took extra time with 3 families. The first family we talked with was the family (mom + 7 kids) with a daughter with cerebral paulsy. She was 6 years old but smaller than Clay. She looked around 1 ½ years old. She has gotten excellent care from her family despite the dump conditions she lives in. She wasn’t eating so Lisa started bringing the girl Pediasure after the advice of a physician. She is doing better now but probably won’t live to be that old. She spends almost all of her life lying in a hammock on the front “porch” of her makeshift house. There was such sadness and pain in her face. It just broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. What a hard life for this girl and her family.

As we walked along we saw lots of garbage on the ground an lots of kids running around. The kids had very little clothing and most didn’t have shoes. Their surroundings make me want to change them – improve them but it is so hard to know what to do to help.

Next we moved on to visit the pastor’s house and his family. We spent some time praying with the wife and youngest child. The baby girls was sick with a fever that could be caused by a virus or bacteria. Later Bryan got some medicine for them to treat the girl and make sure she gets better because a fever in Honduras can be caused by much worse illnesses than are typical of the US. We also bought them rice and beans and flour and shortening for tortillas (thanks for your donations allowing us to do this). The pastor’s family, like everyone else in the dump community, don’t have enough money for food.

After leaving the pastor’s family, we moved on to go with 2 boys to their grandparents’ house. Lisa knew this family from previous visits so she was concerned when the boys said they are living on the streets now. Lisa wanted to find out what happened so we went to the grandparents house. The parents are not around for the 2 boys that are cousins. The dads most likely were never in their lives and one mother died and the other was killed. The grandparents have done their best to provide for the many grandkids that are in their care but these 2 boys have some bad outside influences. They have stopped going to school because they don’t like it and the grandparents don’t make them go. A lady gave the boys free drugs at 9 and 10 or 11 years old and they used them. They probably got them free in the horrible hopes that they get addicted and make the drug lady some money. The grandparents saw the boys using drugs and trying to give some to their little sister. So the boys were given an ultimatum – move out or stop using drugs. They chose the street and have no desire to return home. They have no respect for their grandparents. The boys think they won’t get addicted and say they’ll stop. The older boy tears up and his eyes are obviously bloodshot from drug use. So sad! So very, very sad. Bryan said it best, “This place just makes you want to take the kids out of this place.” The boys have very little hope to change their lives. Our only hope for them is Jesus. I will definitely remember these two boys in my prayers for a long time to come.

The La Ceiba dump breaks my heart. We saw many garbage trucks driving in with full loads of trash. There were people sitting in the back of the trucks waiting to go through the garbage when it stopped to unload. They are looking for any useful items to build their house or use in their house and sometimes any food scraps they can find to eat or feed their family. So immensely saddening. I feel so helpless. My prayer is that they would find Jesus and God would keep chasing them because He is their only hope. I pray that they see the love of Christ in other people and that more people come to help them.

After the dump it felt very selfish and shallow to eat a big meal at the mall food court and shop for souvenirs, but that’s what we did. I pray that God shows me my part in this devastation. I pray that I can help and that God helps me reconcile and understand, in a small way, the differences between my abundantly blessed and excessive life and their deprived and difficult lives. I continue to pray that things that break God’s heart also break mine.

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