it’s for real

The last day we were in Chamelco, we took a truckload of stuff to the dump. (We had borrowed the MCC truck for the purpose of moving.) Along with the pure trash, we had a bunch of worn-out clothing, as well as clothing that was still nice but didn’t fit (or nobody ever wore). We had thought about just dropping off the bags at a used clothing store, but decided on the dump. A little gift for the people there, maybe?

This is the same dump I talked about back in the beginning. The one that’s a little beyond Bezaleel. Despite always wanting to go get close-up photos of the place, I had never taken the time (or found the opportunity) to do so.

This time, my husband pulled into the driveway and drove up into the dump (despite my concern that the trash would puncture the truck’s tires). Some teenage boys were playing soccer with a deflated ball, but as soon as it was clear we were there to make a drop off, they crowded around and started grabbing. My husband yelled at them to wait—we weren’t getting rid of everything back there!—and they did.

Once parked, my husband hopped out and unloaded the bags. A man picked one up and started walking away, but one of the teens ran up behind him, grabbed the side of the bag and, laughing, ripped it wide open. The clothes bulged out like the innards of a wounded animal.

As my husband backed the MCC truck down the driveway, we watched through the dark tinted windows in stunned sadness while the boys tore open the other bags, spilling our clothes across the garbage. One boy scrutinized our shredded hammock. They lifted high a sheet to examine it. Another boy tried on my son’s sneakers.

It’s no joke—people really do live in the dump.


  • Tricia @ The Domestic Fringe

    Should I admit that my children's crib came from the dump? Probably not. But, a neighbor worked there when I was pregnant with my first and rescued a crib for me. I was more than thankful.

    That being said, I can't imagine people living in or "off" the dump. It's sad. I imagine they do it because they have no better choice in life, but perhaps I am wrong about that.

  • Susan L Anderson

    I don't know what you have available, netflix possibly? but there is an amazing documentary called Waste Land that is well worth watching. it is not about people who live at the dump, but rather work there. it is about art and recycled material and how vision changed people's life and gave them a new sense of meaning.
    from wikipedia –
    Waste Land is a feature documentary film that premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and went on to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, as well as win over 50 other film awards including the International Documentary Association's Best Documentary Award, which was handed to director Lucy Walker inside a garbage bag.[1][2]

    Waste Land is the uplifting story of artist Vik Muniz who travels to the world's largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho outside Rio de Janeiro, to collaborate with a lively group of catadores, or pickers of recyclable materials, who find a way to the most prestigious auction house in London via the surprising transformation of refuse into contemporary art. The catadores work in a co-operative founded and led by Sebastião Carlos Dos Santos, the ACAMJG, or Association of Pickers of Jardim Gramacho, who dreamed of improving life for his community. The money created by the selling of the artworks was given back to the catadores and the ACAMJG, as well as the prize money from the film awards, in order to help the catadores and their community.

    The documentary was released theatrically in the USA by Arthouse Films, in Canada and in the UK by E1 Entertainment, and in Australia and New Zealand by Hopscotch Films and was directed by Lucy Walker, produced by Angus Aynsley and Hank Levine, executive produced by Fernando Meirelles, co-directed by João Jardim and Karen Harley, co-produced by Peter Martin, and photographed by Dudu Miranda. The music is exclusively by Moby, a friend and frequent collaborator of the director.[3]

    Reception[edit]Waste Land received unanimously positive reviews as "an uplifting portrait of the power of art and the dignity of the human spirit."[4]

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