Wednesday, June 26
We arrived in Antigua at midnight on Tuesday, June 25. At 8:00 the next morning, the group was in the headquarters of Camino Seguro, a non-profit that works with the children and families who live and work in the central dump in Guatemala City. We drove into the city and through the large city cemetery to reach a ledge overlooking the dump. While driving through the cemetery, we learned about the above ground graves pictured here.
We also learned in a dramatic way about the monthly rent that families must pay for each of the spaces as we witnessed forklifts taking caskets and bodies of those who had not paid to be disposed of in a mass grave.
We spent about 40 minutes overlooking the dump, watching the workers sift through the trash, and learning about the formal and informal economy that has developed around trash pick up, disposal and recycling.
We left the dump to visit the inspiring work of Camino Seguro (Safe Passage). This organization, which began with the vision, commitment and 5,000 investment of one woman 8 years ago, has become a comprehensive organization with a 2 million per year operating budget, and two large facilities that provide education to over 600 children and adults, a food program, a clinic, family education and counseling, and small business training and opportunities that are effectively breaking the cycle of poverty that generations of families have experienced.
Here, our group is learning about the woman’s jewelry cooperativo and purchasing items made from recycled materials by women in the Camino Seguro literacy program.
The group ate in the local cocina located next to the school, and all discussed their increased gratitude for the food, and increased awareness of where their bottles and trash were going.
We returned to Antigua in the late afternoon. Many of the boys went for haircuts at a local barber and others went exploring in the local market. Here we met Juana and Christina, the two Mayan youth that group leader Roger and his partner Steve have sponsored for the past 6 years. Juana and Christina have since become integral members of our group, and an important part of our cultural education.
Check out day two here:
Check out day three here: