One of my favorite days of ministry was when we visited the local dump in Granada. Initially, when I heard that a possible ministry site could be visiting the local dump, I honestly hoped I wouldn’t be placed there. I was surprised when I heard other teams returning from it raving about it. The day we were assigned, we met with Jesse and Andy, who have been volunteering at the dump for many years. They both have incredible stories of how the Lord led them to serve in Nicaragua. We picked up fresh food from multiple areas and arrived at the dump, which is a huge hill of garbage that looks over Granada.
Andy and Jesse began to tell us that the people that go through the garbage are the third set of individuals to go through them. People go through trash cans, the people who come through on garbage trucks go through it and lastly it arrives at the dump for these individuals to search through to find anything valuable left. We were expecting to see men searching for garbage but were surprised to see both women and young children searching as well. It was heartbreaking to see some of the young children that we encountered at REAP’s community center working at the dump. With the unemployment rate so high in Nicaragua, many of them walk for miles to the dump in hopes of making something off of the valuables they can find. Unfortunately, on average the workers make under a $1 a day.
My teammates, Cameron and Michael gave a 5-minute message and prayed over the food as everyone lined up to get their meal. As we began serving food, we began to notice that people were bringing up containers and pieces of plastic that were in the dump. We used water to help them rinse out whatever was in it before. We had plates yet some of them still chose to use their containers to receive their food in. As everyone in the line went people came quickly came back for seconds and some people with extra containers for their family.
Working at the dump gave an eye-opening reality to how blessed we truly are. Many times back home it’s a huge ordeal if we receive a dirty fork when eating out or part of the meal is not the way we wanted it. It’s surreal to see how desperate these people were for a meal to use something from the dump and not even know what they would receive. I remember as a child hearing that “I wasn’t that hungry then” if I rejected a food that I didn’t want in the house but only wanted what I was craving and was humbling to see how grateful of some of the young children we served were.
After leaving the dump my team and I went to serve at Addie’s Backyard Bible program. Addie is a young woman who has such a passion for children, who runs a feeding program and an hour long devotional for the local children. Her children absolutely love her and we’re so sweet. We prayed, went over a bible story, memorized scripture, sang songs and played games with them.
We later on had the opportunity to go to a local nursing home. Jesse visits at least once a week to bring coffee and a small meal to the elderly. Earlier in the day, Jesse told us that it was someone’s birthday so we pick up a cake for her.
The elderly at the home were extremely loving and sweet. We served them tortillas, beans, and cheese with coffee and after singing happy birthday to Teresa, we served cake as well. Teresa is a sweet 76 yr old woman who has been in the home for multiple years due to her being disabled. Many of the people at the home have such a kind spirit and it was heartbreaking to hear about many of their stories about how some of them ended up at the nursing home.