I had to make a trip to the dump last week, since I smashed up 17 contractor bags' worth of plaster and lath.
Whew. That was dusty.
Anyway, I've been to the dump before, (actually we call it the South Transfer Station
- doesn't that sound nice?) but this time I got to thinking about how organized and official it is, particularly when compared with some of its counterparts in Honduras.
(Here's my little pickup, loaded with HEAVY plaster and wood chunks.)
As you can see from the sign above, these dump people take security seriously. Not just any old chump can, er, dump. You must have photo ID with an address matching that which is indicated on your voucher!
Every vehicle must weigh in and weigh out. There are two scales: one for trucks and one for vehicles towing trailors. (Make sure you pay attention - go to the wrong scale and that blue-haired office-lady is gonna chew yer ass out in front of whoever is around.)
And here is the wood/construction waste pile.
(Just in case you can't read the sign.)
There is a separate pile for metal, which is not pictured here. Also not pictured is a pile for what I would refer to as "miscellaneous crap." That's inside the garage where they have the scales and the office. Misc. crap includes plastics, such as broken patio chairs, high chairs, kiddie pools with holes in them, and the like.
NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW...... that you have weighed out, signed your form, and retrieved your driver's license, (yes they hold them) let's take a gander at the Tegucigalpa dump:
What's the first difference you probably notice?
Yes, there are quite a few people who actually live IN the municipal dump in Tegucigalpa. They scavenge for useful items, including food.
Completely insanitary, dangerous, and heartbreaking.
...especially when you see all the kids there.
Now time for the plug:
There are people working to help the kids (and adults) who live off of the dump. Many of them are former street kids themselves, participating in the "Dump Ministry" through The Micah Project
If these photos disturb you, I encourage you to check out the Micah project and consider a donation or maybe even a visit if you are ever in Tegucigalpa. In 2005, I met the founder of this organization, as well as a few of the young men who participate in the dump ministry. It is a worthy cause, and they are some truly amazing people.
The Tegus dump may never look as organized as its Minneapolis counterpart, but at least some things can be done to help the people who live in it.