I am Elisa* from Nicaragua. I live beside a huge trash dump. I often walk through the dump looking for things like scrap metal and plastic bottles to sell at a recycling center. Then my family has money to buy food.
Every day garbage trucks come with fresh loads of trash. My friends and I jump up onto the backs of the trucks even though we are scared of the garbage truck drivers. They are sometimes mean to us. But we all want to be the first to find good things to sell. Sometimes, among the smelly trash, I also find scraps of food to eat.
All of the people in my neighborhood are very poor. We live in houses made of old tin and canvas. Sometimes kind people help us. They set up a feeding center in our town where my friends and I can go eat a good lunch during the week. Sometimes, they set up a clinic and bring medicine for people that need it. (CAM supplies some medicines here.) They talk to us about Jesus and say that He was kind to everyone.
One evening, after most of the garbage trucks had come and gone for the day, my friends and I were playing at the edge of the dump. Some men in a pickup stopped where we were playing. We ran up to them, and they gave us Bible story books and other things to read.
I was so happy with my shiny new book called 25 Favorite Stories from the Bible. Do you know how to say “the Bible” in Spanish? It’s “la Biblia” (lah BEEB-lee-yah). Most of the people in my country speak Spanish, and that’s the language my new book is written in.
I love the smell of my new book. I like to look at the beautiful pictures and read the interesting stories about Noah and the ark, Joseph and his new coat, and Jesus being born in a stable. I never expected to find such a special treasure in our trash dump. My new book is something I don’t ever want to sell!
Facts about trash dump communities
- About 15 million people in the world live in garbage dump communities. They collect trash and recycle it for a few dollars to feed their families.
- Poisonous fumes, falling trash, and infectious diseases make trash dumps a dangerous place to live.
- People from garbage dump communities dream of a better life, but many never have the opportunity to leave.
To help provide Bible story books for people in Nicaragua and other countries, please choose from the options below.
*Elisa is not the main character’s real name. Although the garbage dump community in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua, is a real place, writer’s liberties have been taken in this story.