The dump has continued to get smaller over the past year. Construction is under way to build a recycling center in the dump, which will employ local workers, but the construction which started last year, seems to be going very slow.
When we arrived in the dump, we stopped at the local school, and visited with some children for a short time, while Dan spoke to us about what caused people to stay in La Chureca. The loss of value in their life, the struggle of rules in the outside world, the fear of rejection, like an abused woman who goes back to her abuser, or a drug addict who cant kick the habit after a near death overdose, these hold the people of the dump captive. In a cycle of constant struggle. With little chance of freedom, until their spirit is healed.
WE met a woman named Jessenia, (not Dans’ wife) who is living with AIDS. The Doctors give her only a few more years to live. She recently was given her own home in the dump, and she invited us in with pride, to a small shack, that I fear could barely hold up to a heavy wind. She invited us in, and as she told us her story, I was struck by the faith that this woman posses. She believes that God will heal her, and that alone, shows a stronger faith than I have. After a 10 or so hot stifling minutes, we walked outside and prayed with her before we continued on our way through the dump. For us a moment of insight into her world and disease, for her a life fraught with the knowledge that this virus will end up taking her life. Very possibly sooner, rather than later.
Praying for Jessenia outside her home
a child stands outside his home, where a day earlier, someone entered and stole all the food his family had, as he played soccer with friends
Sun sets on another day in Nicaragua
Tags: Dan Speicher mission trips Nicaragua. la chureca non profit photography Non Profits/NGO's northway christian community photojournalism pittsburgh photojournalist travel photographer
Morning in the compund
As we walked through La Chureca today, my experience was different than the previous trips in.
My eyes are being opened to the reality of the slavery that so heavily holds this village in bondage. Rather than just seeing the homes and people along the pathways, I’m tending to look farther back, reaching deeper into myself to try and have eyes that see past the facade. Eyes that can see the shame, the fear, and the needs of the people.
The first thing I notice is the lack of music in La Chureca. Sure its there, but its always slow, low, and rhythmic. Nothing about the sounds say that joy lives there. if it wasn’t for the frequent shouts of “hola Daniel” from the children, or the occasional “como esta” from some adults, I would begin to think that we were at a funeral.
People don’t move into La Chureca for happiness. They move their for work, or because they don’t know where else to go, and end up losing hope along the way. The promises of good wages are slowly dying and the hope of a good life and freedom along with it.
Until their spirit can be healed, the addictions, abuse, and pain have no where to go, and no reason to leave. The cycle starts, and move from generation to generation. If a mother was never properly raised, never knew what it meant to be taken care of as a child, then how could she know what it is to properly raise her own child?
If a young man spent his childhood without a father teaching him to be a man, and all he saw was his dad with lots of girlfriends, drinking, and being abusive, then that is what he associates with being a man. When he grows up he sees that as ok. So the cycle continues. One generation after another, continuing to commit the sins of their fathers. It’s not until their spirit is healed that they begin to change.
When their spiritual needs are healed their physical needs can begin to be met.
As an example, we met with Migdonio again. We had been looking for him on Monday and when we went by his tent he wasn’t there. One of the boys said that Migdonio hadn’t been using crutches, and was out in the dump working. Sunday he slipped in the rain, and after work went to the doctor. The doctor wrapped his knee and told him to stay off it for some time.
Tuesday we found him sitting under a tree resting. We started talking to him, and he said that he had felt the joy he had felt was leaving him. We prayed for him, and sang songs, and gave him a bible so that he didn’t have try and borrow a neighbors any more. Migdonio started to cry.
Those tears were tears of hope and praise. He said he had needed encouragement and was so happy to hear it. That spiritual healing is just the beginning. He needs to keep his eyes towards the heavens, and lean on God as his crutch.
In the afternoon we visited Dan and Jesina’s girls home.
These children are so precious and just so open to being loved on.
Photos will come later, but here is one from the phone.
Off to the dump. Have a great day.
Tags: la chureca love light and melody Managua Nicaragua mission trips Nicaragua northway christian community photojournalism