Guatemala City Dump– Zone 3

My good friend Eric shared his thoughts on today and I think they are great– very succinct and honest.  If it were me describing our first day working with the people who eek out a living in the stench and filth of the dump– it would read like War and Peace.  Long.

Guatemala volcano

We thought this was going to be the only beautiful thing in Guatemala and for the first 8 hours we were right.


Guatemala City Dump

 Heading into the dump with a bag of tools.


Guatemala City dump

Our first look at the dump complete with scavengers who rummage through tons of garbage 14 hours a day to make a living.


Guatemala City Dump

The morning dedication welcomed us to the family we were building for.


Guatemala City dump
The mother, two daughters, and 5 children will be living in 240 square feet.


Guatemala City Dump

Vincenta, the mother, has sold her hand made tortillas from behind the corrugated door
for years in the dump to purchase 500 cinder blocks (of which she was cheated out of 200) to build her house. The money contributed for the trip paid for the balance needed to complete the project.


Guatemala City dump

Vincenta on the left is only 46 years old, 4′ 9″ tall and 90 pounds makes her tortillas. Sweet little Brenda helps out. She was the sunshine of my days there.


Guatemala City dump

Up on a ladder inside the house before the roof goes on, we can see over to to the laundry hanging in the corner. There are FIVE “houses” in 40 feet.


Guatemala City dump

Despite these living conditions the beauty of the people, especially the children, allowed the sun to shine throughout the day. Our hearts were filled with what we might be able to do if we dedicated ourselves to it.


Guatemala City dump

10 thoughts on “Guatemala City Dump– Zone 3

  1. How incredibly humbling! my house all of a sudden feels like a mansion full of crap! What beautiful children. Thanks for sharing this experience with the blog world. Keep doing the “good work”.

  2. Check out this amazing organization if you want to learn more about helping families living in the Guatemala City garbage dump.

    Safe Passage works with the poorest at-risk children of families working in the Guatemala City garbage dump. Within a safe and caring environment, we provide a comprehensive and integrated program that fosters hope, good health, educational achievement, self-sufficiency, self esteem and confidence. There mission is to create opportunities
    and foster dignity through the power of education.

  3. I would also strongly recommend donating to Potter’s House– the organization we are partnering with if you are interested in helping. The administration costa are only 5%, which is very low. They have a school for the kids, have personal development and enterprise training for the residents and work closely with the community to improve leadership, responsibility and quality of life.


  4. Guatemala is a place of stark contrasts. There is breathtaking beauty and then there is abject poverty just around the corner. Corruption is rampant there as well. I learned to love it there but there are things that are tough to handle as well.

  5. How incredibly humbling ! Makes one get out of one’s self really quickly.Reminds of what Oprah says…”We note every single day the things we are grateful for”

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  6. I just returned from Guatemala this morning. We are with Paradise Bound Ministry located near Cerro Alto in the Chimaltenanga area. A group of us from Michigan have been building an orphanage there since the end of September, which will be completed by the end of next week. These are a beautiful and humble people. They are not poor because they are lazy, they are poor because there is not much for them. Those who we help live in the mountains and sustenance farming. But, most just barely feed there families. Guatemala has the 3rd highest malnutrition rate.
    Paradise Bound also provides housing, medical clinics, and spiritual growth throughout the remote areas of Guatemala. Some places are barely reachable with 4 wheel drive vehicle that have tire chains. I have met many Mayans and I cannot tell you how these people touch me and my co-workers. There is one story that I heard this week. The wife of one of my co-workers this week, is with a group of women to aide and support some of the missionaries who work in the dump. She took one of the boys who is starving the in dump to a restraunt for his birthday. The boy drank all of his drink but would not touch the food. When she asked why he would eat the food he told her that he couldn’t because is family was starving. He wanted to and did take his dinner home to share with his family .

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