Boston Pizza Day 4 – Making Friends in the Garbage Dump

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Last nights’ debriefing, unbeknownst to us, was an excellent preparation for today’s experience at the garbage dump. Talking about the sights, sounds and smells was one thing, but actually experiencing was something else. With anxious anticipation we loaded into the back of our open-aired truck, and bumped over the dirty and dusty road. No matter how bad we thought our ride was, it couldn’t compare to the daily walk for those who work at this dump site, as their only means of income.184051_10150268667210326_95760375325_7838374_1230014_n.jpgComing face to face with the task at hand for the morning, we were partnered with many Haitian workers, who tenaciously survive in the midst of this wasteland. I was given the privilege of being partnered with a Haitain woman who welcomed me to join her in search of plastic bags and bottles amongst the rubbish. I now understand the true meaning of “one mans trash is another man’s treasure”. While they are paid practically nothing to collect recyclables, finding a bag of beans, a ripped packsack, or matching shoes brought them just as much hope. As we worked our way through the mounds of garbage, ripping bags, choosing or discarding contents, we began to converse in broken, Creole/French/Spanish – simple words to connect our lives, “Como se Llama?”, “Des enfants? Combien?” While our lives are not comparable, we discovered similarities in our different worlds. We worked companionably together sifting through the trash, deep in stench and buzzing flies, whacking the rumps of the rummaging cattle to clear them off the better piles of offerings. Once we had our bags filled, we would head up the small hill on the outskirts of the dump, where each of the workers made their own personal piles for the day. At one point Roslyn took my hand and led me to a place where she and 3 other women had made a great find – a very large bag of white beans which they gladly shared with each other.267352_10150268674885326_95760375325_7838432_953861_n.jpgMany of us left the site barefoot and hatless, as our socks, shoes and hats were the only material things we felt we could offer under the immediate circumstances. Smiles and tears were shed on the silent bus ride home. After an emotionally draining morning we set off on any afternoon hike to a beautiful waterfall. The day finished up with an evening of kareoke making us mindful of how lucky we are.Cheryl

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: August 15th, 2011