Originally, one of the plans for our ministry was to work at a garbage dump.
As you have probably figured out by now, plans changed a lot in Indo.
No, that’s an understatement. Plans changed a TON.
Because our team was on the larger side, we weren’t able to work in the dump. It would have been unsafe for our team and the people living there.
Oh yeah, did I mention, the people that work at this dump also call it “home”?
On our last day, Ibu Mega (our host for the day, and coordinator of all the sites) took us to one of the dumps. It is part of a ministry that she and her husband run in which they have set up a room to help people in. I don’t know all the specifics, but one use of those rooms is for educating kids and their mothers.
We got out of the van, and everyone’s heart sank pretty low.
It’s hard to describe, and I didn’t take pictures, but I’ll do my best.
1) GARBAGE! EVERYWHERE! Like, it is everywhere. And people live there.
2) The rooms where people live are 9 ft by 9 ft. And it’s not just for mom, dad, and kid. Families usually live together, so it could mean mom, dad, kid, uncle, grandma, grandpa, nephew in a 81 square foot room, constructed from cardboard or maybe thin pieces of wood. There are no doors. There is hardly any furniture.
3) People who live at the dump earn their keep by sorting the garbage that comes in for recyclables. If they meet a certain quota, they are able to stay and use the community restrooms free of charge. If not, they must pay the rent.
4) BABIES ARE EVERYWHERE. Whenever families cannot make the quota, and subsequently cannot pay the rent, they are in a rut. There is no place to go, because they are ostracized. Sadly, as a result, in order to pay the rent, many families sell their daughters into the sex trade. That is why there are tons of infants and toddlers roaming the dump, and most likely this is where they will live for their lives.
5) It didn’t stink all that bad when we were there, but that was because it was the dry season. However, during the wet season, the rain pours buckets and buckets, causing the place to reek pretty bad.
6) BUGS EVERYWHERE. No matter where you look, there would be a swarm of flies just hovering.
The whole experience was really heartbreaking. And we were only there for ten minutes. Everyone got back in the van about 678,432,837,498,237,498,237,482,937 times more thankful for what they had.