I want to share something with you. Would you please take a few moments to read the following.
Two Hours at the Dump
By Caley Palmer
This is just an excerpt from my journal from Tuesday, March 24th:
After visiting Casa Hogar Vida and having siesta time, we went to the dump. I knew it would be hard and blow my mind, and it did. At first it looks just like any normal dump – trash, messy, vultures, not pretty. But then, you look closer and see people DIGGING through it, people sitting in make-shift shacks amongst it all. Or then, you walk up to this enormous pile of rotted food, bloody meat that look like they just came from a slaughter house. It was absolutely disgusting. Cow carcasses, bones, bloody, rotting meat — and they had to stand and dig through this to look for plastic bottles.
Soon the vultures came. And flies were everywhere, and talking with the people working there, you could just see the flies crawling all over them; their pants and clothes. This is their LIFE. This is their everyday, all the time, no escape LIFE. They don’t get to come “visit” for an hour or two and then leave, get in a bus and wash their hands. NO. This is their life, everyday, all the time. And it’s horrible. All day they dig through the trash for plastic bottles, sorting them out, and only making about $3 a day.
I talked with a 14 year old boy who had been in school until 6th grade, but had to quit school after that year. He said he really liked school, and his favorite subject was math. He said that this was his first year working at the dump. He wanted to be at school. He doesn’t like it here. …He is choking up at this point… THIS BOY IS FOURTEEN!! 14 years old! He shouldn’t be working in a DUMP, he should be able to be in school. But he CAN’T. He said that someday he hopes to go back to school in some kind of vocational studies, but a big part of me doubts and wonders that will happen. Which sucks. It’s not fair. He’s 14 years old, and he may have to dig through trash for the rest of his life.
Also at the dump was a married couple, who I talked with for awhile while everyone was waiting for their new shoes. I talked with the man one on one for awhile before his wife joined us, and he was very nice, and sweet. He told me I had a very beautiful face. I think I can honestly say he was the nicest man I talked to in Honduras, not counting the amazing men of the church. He was so easy to talk to and seemed genuinely happy. He was happy, and he worked in a dump.
Soon we called his wife over, and she was wonderful as well. She couldn’t stop smiling. They were so…. happy. Peaceful. Genuine. I couldn’t fathom this. After talking for awhile, I felt in my heart that it was time to ask them more about their faith. I asked Tyler to come and talk with me. I had asked before if they went to church, and they said that they did. With Tyler, we asked, that if they were to die today, would they think they would go to Heaven. With utmost certainty, they replied, “Yes.”. When we asked more questions, they had all the right answers, and I honestly believe they have a deep personal relationship with Christ. The one thing that they said, though, that I will never forget, was this statement: “it’s not good works or deeds that get us into Heaven. it’s our faith. Without faith in God, we have nothing.” …WE. HAVE. NOTHING.
This blew my mind! How could two people be so sure, so confident, passionate, sincere, and excited about their faith and hope in Christ and live and work at a city DUMP?!? It puts my faith to shame. Hearing their hearts and responses was so exciting and encouraging to hear, and immediately tears filled my eyes. I couldn’t stop crying. THAT moved my heart. I mean they were just great people in their faith. It makes me sad to think that they have to endure this everyday, but I just pray that someday they find ultimate rest.
After we got back on the bus, I kept crying. I couldn’t and can’t get those two stories out of my head (the 14 yr. old boy and the couple with amazing faith). These are real people, real stories, real lives. This isn’t something they do for spare money or to help the environment. This is their life. I was at the dump for about 2 hours, and got to leave. Got back on the bus and went back to a warm meal, a shower, and a soft bed to sleep in. I don’t know what to say. I’m broken.
This is what drives me. Not only the changes that we make in lives in Honduras, but the life changing experiences of the students whom I am privileged to lead on these trips (like Caley). Each year becomes a turning point in some of the lives of young people as they experience a world so dramatically different from anything they have ever imagined.
I know I can never spend the time and resources needed to touch all the lives I desire to reach, but what I can do and you can be part of, is duplicating myself through the young people who find a path for their lives in the mission field. Each year I take a new group of students and every year one or more of these students become ignited with a passion for serving God far away from the comforts of home.
Will you partner with me in this endeavor? I know that I am not good in soliciting support, and quite honestly, my need is still great this year and time is short. If at all possible, I need your financial support. I also need to know that you are lifting me up in your prayers. My God is sufficient, He will provide, but He also works through His people.