Eyes opened in a garbage dump...
On Saturday we went to the garbage dump where we got to work side-by-side with the people there. I did not know what I was expecting but it sure wasn't what I saw felt or experienced. In North America, we have our safe homes, and if not that, at least we have homes that we can go home to. We have so many valuable yet unrecognizable treasures that we take for granted every day. I already know coming down on this trip is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me; it has opened my mind to poverty and i have finally seen the real life meaning of this word that we only know from books or TV.
When my team headed down to the dump, I was extremely nervous. I was just expecting a disgusting smell and giant piles of garbage. I knew that there would be people there, but I was not sure who. When we arrived and got off the bus, yes it was smelly, and yes there was garbage everywhere, I was not surprised by any of that. What did surprised me was when this little 10 year old boy came up to me and Aidan, another Live Different volunteer, and asked us to be his partners for the job. It surprised me by how happy and content he was, sifting through garbage, one hand bare, while the other was sporting one of Aidan's work gloves. His name was Kravis, and he had on a pair of shoes that were three sizes too big for his feet as he walked through cow manure, mud, and of course garbage.
We were collecting plastic bottles so that he could earn money to help feed and shelter his two little siblings and his grandparents, as he did not have any parents. At the age of 10, Kravis works in a world of toxic waste, sweat, billions of flies, and skinny stray dogs. Needless to say it was a very emotional day for the whole team, having to see something so bizarre, and unfair. I am very glad that i did not have to experience this alone and I knew that there were more who were experiencing extreme emotions at the end of the day in our debriefing. I am very thankful to have such wonderful people to lean on, and so grateful for this opportunity to open my eyes to what poverty really is.
Kristy - Live Different Hero Holiday Volunteer, Dominican Republic 2012