so thursday i got back from taking some members of the youth ministry to diriamba, nicaragua. this was the third year that i took some people to diriamba. usually we go there are hang out with (basically build relationships and play) the street kids who live in the shanty town. this year we did a kind of “retreat” for some of the kids who are a part of the church we work with, helped feed kids who live in the dump, and continued to hang out with the street kids. on a whole it was a pretty good week. it was definitely cool to see some of the stuff that is now happening because of our “hanging out”. last year one of our number was so overwhelmed by working with the street kids that he/she went into the process of developing a school for teaching them crafts. this year we got to see the property on which that is going to happen. it was great to know that our spending time with these kids was going to lead to an opportunity to help them work their way out of the shanty town that they presently live in.

for me the big thing this year was something i have been struggling with for three years. the first time i went to nicaragua i wanted to see the dump in managua. i was completely blown away. last year i took the youth through it and again it was simply too much. last year i was convinced that i had to be apart of making a difference within the dump. i’ve been struggling with how to do that and as of going to diriamba this year i still had no idea. this year we had the opportunity to work within the diriamba dump – same types of situations and problems only on a smaller scale. this was eye opening. suddenly huge problems became small enough to grasp. i still don’t have the answers but i realized within these visits that the diriamba dump present a small enough evil to act as “trial run” for helping some of the people. when we figure out what will work within the diriamba dump i’ll at least have a starting point for working within the managuan dump.

while i don’t have any real answers right now i do have a couple of things that i am going to start working on. first, we ran into one easily fixable issue in the dump in the fact that some of the kids didn’t have bowls, plates, or anything else to put their daily free meal in. if you don’t have a place to put the meal in then you don’t get a meal. i saw kids bringing plastic grocery bags and cereal boxes to have their meal placed in. they had found these within the dump itself. so our first step as a youth ministry is to start raising bowls.

the second thing i am going to start working on is stolen from tony campolo. i once heard dr. campolo talk about some of his students developing a strategy for teaching haitian street kids to make and sell shoes made out of old tires. i’m convinced the same thing could work within the diriamban dump. i’m presently trying to find out as much as possible about how to do this. this may not be the answer for us but it is at least a step in the direction of learning what can work.

all i know for sure is that i don’t feel that i can stop trying to correct a situation that smacks of evil. that’s what it is. it is just plain evil for someone who was made in the image of my GOD to be reduced to living in a pile of trash.

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