Before we ate lunch, we drove to the cemetery. Why the cemetery? Because from the cemetery we could walk to an overlook and see the garbage dump from above– it was inside a crater-esque area. For our bus to enter the cemetery, Juan Carlos had to pay as we drove through a gate. We navigated to a spot far back, and he parked the bus. All of us hustled out and followed Andres and Juan Carlos, police officer in front and police officer behind. I meandered. It was easier to take pictures. that way, but one of the officers, Carlos, then stayed back so that I wasn’t alone.
We could smell burning and there was trash littered throughout our path to get to the overlook. Our group spread out, single file, as they walked through the thigh-high grass.
The section of the cemetery that we passed through had been closed and people weren’t buried there anymore:
And then, we were at the overlook. Years before, I had been in JustFaith and they showed us a video of a garbage dump community. I’ve done community service and worked in impoverished areas for 15 years. I thought I knew. I thought I was prepared. I was wrong.
You can see people in this picture, up close. The trash is also pretty visible. People rummage through the trash and collect things that are valuable for recycling. They only receive payment for what they gather. Sometimes people are in such a hurry to gather, that they end up behind the trucks as they unload.
Once people collected their wares, they sold them to the people along the edges of the dump. These people would then sell the trash to someone else, and so on and so on, until they finally were sold to their final destination.
These two men were walking near the waterfall. The one with the bag on his head was leaving, and I guess that the one with the backpack was arriving to work. For all of the work that they do, the people, if they’re lucky, earn about $5 a day for their families and their needs.
I left, overwhelmed. Although we were high up, my professional quality camera and telephoto lens allowed me to see the people in the garbage dump very closely. It wasn’t yet 1 o’clock. Next stop, grocery store to buy lunch supplies for the week.