This morning we had a new and interesting experience: we went to the dump. The big dump in the middle of the city is a pseudo-city that supports 11,000 people and is the size of twenty seven football fields. Our wonderful friend, Berta, now works for a ministry that serves the dump scavengers. Her ministry, Potter’s House, has been working for the past 25 years to help the children and adults who live off of what they find in the garbage.
We didn’t actually go INTO the dump. I’m not sure we’d want to normally, but definitely not with the baby. Instead we went to the only cemetery in Guatemala City. It sits on a high hill and overlooks the dump. We watched buzzards or crows circle the trash and crowds of people swarm towards the dump trucks as they poured out their garbage. Even from high on the hill, the smell was oppressive.
At one point, the police asked us to move. Apparently, the area where we were standing was considered dangerous not only because of loose rocks, but also because two bodies had been found there last week. It certainly didn’t feel unsafe, but we moved to a different lookout spot. From the new spot, our driver (William) told us some interesting info about the cemetery. In Guatemala, bodies aren’t buried. The “graves” are holes cut into tall walls. Some rows are ten layers high and 100 graves across. It’s a space issue. You can fit more bodies in if you stack upwards. When you die, you pay $7 or $8 dollars per year to have your coffin kept there. My dad noticed that there were a lot of empty spaces in random places in the walls. My guess was that they were new graves. But, no, William said that if you don’t pay, your body is thrown out. He showed us a coffin that had been recently thrown over the hill and the pants and belt of the dead man that were mixed in with the rocks and dirt that came out when they removed the body and coffin.
Next, we checked out some apartments where we might stay on future trips. Just for the record, they’re beautiful and significantly less expensive than the hotel. There are four bedrooms and three bathrooms in each apartment. Who’s up for joining us on our next trip?
We were back with the kids from Casa Samuel this afternoon. Our group of 27 spent the afternoon eating pizza at Pizza Hut and playing at a play place called LOOPS. Loops is kind of like Bogeys but cooler. The kids got bracelets for unlimited activities for one hour. There were inflatables to jump in and slide down, go carts, and bumper boats with squirt guns to soak people in the other boats.
When we left, we got to tell all of the kids that we love them and that we pray for them. We know that God has a plan for their lives, and we look forward to watching them grow into the people God created them to be. The kids gave us big hugs and told us thank you. One little boy gave a speech thanking us for thinking of them and sharing our time with them!
At the end, the kids we sponsor wanted to know when we’re coming back. July? June? May? Saturday? I wish. I guess it’s time to start planning the next trip!