Contemplating everyday life of those on the margin

Updated: Mar 13, 2019


I spent Monday morning at the Guatemala City dump. It’s a city within a city.


The landfill is huge and since the government does not impose recycling, everything gets transported here from all zones in the city. Three thousand people pay to get in to sort garbage and remove it. Others live close by- some as squatters in hovels- and sort further before crushed glass, aluminum, cardboard etc. is trucked away .


That is a way of life for many uneducated folks from the country who can’t read or write well enough to get higher level jobs in the city. More than 60,000 people live near the largest landfill in Central America. An average family of 6 lives on $4 a day.


Speaking of education, the government of Guatemala provides public school education through sixth grade, and it is not mandatory. Most children leave at fourth grade to start working. There are private schools for those who can afford more.


My my lungs filled up from the stench, and when the wind blew, well, you know.


But in every situation there is one glimmer of hope.


Safe Passage, founded in 1999 by an American, Hanley Denning, provides full- day childhood and primary education, adult education and family nurturing classes. Students must apply.


I visited the the various programs, and I saw a value there, especially how the school works to educate the whole family. Empowerment starts with education.


What I take for granted was challenged right in front of my own eyes.








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