Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 8: People actually live at the dump!!

Last night, we had our devotional at what we affectionately call “The Jesus Statue”.  It is a huge concrete statue of Jesus on the side of the mountain.  Every year we usually do a night time devotional there.  The statue itself is beautiful, but the views of Tegucigalpa at nighttime are beyond compare.  We took lots of pictures, sang songs, and had a devotional.  Tim Hines had us close our eyes and see if we could pick out the sound of one dog.  Of course, we could.  Then he asked if we were louder (as a group) than a dog, and we all said we were.  He challenged us to sing loud enough so that the people down in the valley could hear us singing from the Jesus Statue.  As always, it was a beautiful and moving experience.

Panoramic view of the city (there's more that I couldn't get in the picture!)

Today, our group split into three jobs.  The group from Cookeville had worked to raise money to build a house and they built a house in Moaloa. (That is the same place where Diane and I worked in the feeding center.)  Another group walked through a village and handed out food bags. (Those were the bags we worked on yesterday.)  They also drove around town and went on a “Gatorade Blitz”.  They handed out Gatorade to street workers.  Taylor worked with that group.

Leaving the bodega again, heading to the dump with out sandwiches to hand out

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The last group was my group and we went to the city dump.  There are about 300 people who scavenge the dump looking for things to recycle and sell.  Women and children are not supposed to be there, but you see both.  I will try to find words to describe, but I know it will be difficult.  Some of our leaders went to the grocery and bought loaf bread, sliced cheese, bologna, packages of cookies, bananas and huge containers of water. 
We traveled through the old part of the city to get to the dump.  This was a side street. Notice how narrow the street is.

Lots of traffic in this part of the town

 We went to the bodega (warehouse) to assemble the sandwiches.  We also needed to find some needed supplies there.  (If you’ll remember, some of us and the interns had already spent two days organizing it.  Well, it had already gotten somewhat unorganized again) we worked on that several hours in the morning and ate our packed lunches there.

The Dump: There are about 300 people at the dump, and many of them live there.  We have seen poor and dirty people before, but not like this.  These people not only compete with each other, to find things in the dump, but they are competing with cows, dogs and vultures.    We had been warned to take off all jewelry, and wear strong-soled shoes (in case of dirty syringes or glass).

Road into the dump

  Our group leader said we would need to put our backpacks under our seats, keep our windows, and only take pictures discreetly.  We would be handing out the food from the back of the bus, and water from the bus door.  We were told to make sure there was nothing that could be grabbed off the last row or two off the bus.  Diane, Kim Allison?, Matt Craven, and I worked on handing out water.  We had three 5 gallon jugs of water.  Diane stood beside the door and handed out the water, while we were pouring from small pitchers into paper cups as quick as we could. 

 Norlan, our busdriver, was standing beside her.  I trying to be fast, so they wouldn’t have to wait, so I wasn’t doing a lot of interacting, but  I heard a lot of “thank yous” and  “graciases”.  We also had been warned that a few of the men could be pushy, and I think there was some of that at the back door of the bus where they were handing out the food, but our interpreter, Lauryl, kept everyone in line.  After we had given out all of the food, we all got off the bus for a little while.  Some of the younger people kicked a ball around with some of the children, others tried talking to some young girls standing there. 

 It seemed like the odor was worse in other parts of the dump, we were parked in a “road” that the trucks road on.  At the end, we had a few bananas left and we were giving extras to a few people, one little boy stuck it in his hat, which was a dirty green sock toboggan.  I know I’m not very descriptive, but I really cannot describe the dump, and I don’t think I will try.  I hope you will get a sense from the pictures.  Diane got closer to many of them, and we had been told that many sniff glue, and she said she could smell it on many of them.  Some were kind of scary looking, but they seemed, for the most part, were respectful.  Our group was humbled and moved by our day and it is something that I will never forget.
You can see a shack in this picture. (I'm making these x-large, so you can see details.

Until next time!!! xoxoPJ  (Taylor and I will defin. be building a house with my "earring" money & Hilldale donations.  It may be tomorrow!


  1. Sooo impressive! I am touched in my heart.
    Love and greetings

  2. Patty, You said that you hoped your words and pictures could give us a sense of what the dump is like and how the experience effected you. Trust me, you did a great job of bringing the experience to life for us. I know that it had to be very overwhelming, and I know we can never truly understand unless we stood where you did and saw what you saw and felt what you felt, BUT you did convey the overall experience with powerful words and pictures. Last year, Jeff went to the dump . . . and it affected him profoundly. I did not go last year . . . wasn't sure that I was ready for that at that time. If we do get the chance to return to Honduras, I would like the privilege of going. I hope you were able to rest well last night. Look forward to your next post. Take care and God Bless.

  3. Being His hands and His feet---feeding the hungry and helping the helpless. You are blessed!

  4. That's incrediable, sounds dangerous, but moving! Happy you stayed safe! Love Mom

  5. I never felt in danger. It was really humbling and it was an honor to serve there!! Thank you for your words of encouragement. I am glad to know you all are reading this!!!