Saturday, March 10, 2012

Barefoot and broken glass

The landfill near Zacapa is home to more than 300 families -- many whom receive either sponsorship or medical care from Hearts in Motion.

As the Hearts in Motion bus drove toward the landfill, children began to chase after it either on foot or on bikes.

By the time the bus pulled up, there was a line of children waiting inside the shelter.

As the volunteers passed out the sandwiches -- a scoop of cheese and a scoop of beans on a small bun -- the children stuck out their hands and tugged at the clothing of the volunteers. Many of the children had bare feet and dirty faces.

Three-year-old Fernanda sat against a wall, eating her sandwich.

Next to her was her 2-year-old brother, Che and her baby brother Julian. She had a few other sandwiches wrapped in her shirt that she was saving for her other siblings.

When asked if she had a boyfriend, Fernanda grinned and nodded. She had more than one, she said.

While most people who came to the bus were children, a handful of adults also showed up. The oldest person there was a woman named Maria. 

Maria, had lived in the landfill for four generations. Clinging to her arm was her granddaughter, who was also named Maria.

"She goes to school," the grandmother said proudly patting little Maria's hair. Little Maria said her favorite subject was math.

The landfill is the first stop in every Hearts in Motion group, said Karen Scheeringa-Parra, the organization's founder.

Karen said she wants the volunteers to see where home is for a lot of the people that they are helping.

"It was a life changing experience and it only lasted 15 minutes," said Melanie McDivitt, a 22-year-old pre-dental student at Washington State University. "We complain every day about how we're in school, and how we're hungry, but in reality you don't know what hunger is until you're chasing a school bus to get a piece of bread with beans and cheese on it."

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to read more after reading your first couple posts. I like how you started out this post with the children and the little girl. The photos are really good too!