A few months after arriving in Guatemala, I joined a Safe Passage volunteer team coincidentally from my home state. Despite having watched Recycled Life dozens of times, I was ill-prepared for the dismal conditions in which thousands of people lived. The Guatemala City garbage dump, the largest in Central America, expands into the surrounding community as thousands eke out a living from discarded food and recyclables. The pervasive stench and circling buzzards overwhelm the senses. Yet in the middle of the chaos is an oasis, Safe Passage. The organization, which started as a preschool to keep young children out of the dump while their
parents work, has since expanded to an accredited elementary school, after school youth program, and women’s center.
During my visits to Safe Passage, I am continually impressed by the dedication, love, acceptance, and professionalism shown by dozens of volunteers, mainly American college students, who give of their time and often money to serve in the garbage dump community. As I spend time with the children and volunteers of Safe Passage, I am reminded of Jesus’s compassion towards children and those in need and I reflect upon the challenge in 1 John 3:17, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”
For more information, go to www.safepassage.org.