I’ve had my heart broken many times by the suffering that I’ve seen in Honduras, but this last trip it was crushed by a little girl who lived at the dump. Probably a dump kid all her life, she only knew a life of hunger, garbage and suffering.
The dump is a dark place. Life as a dump child is harder than any of us could ever imagine. They have to pick through rotten garbage for food, search for shelter and drinkable water, and God only knows what goes on out there after dark.
While our group was feeding the hungry dump people, I had walked off by myself and saw her lying on a pile of garbage. She couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old. Her head on a piece of cardboard while the rest of her laid in the dirt.
I knew immediately she was sick. You could see it in her brown eyes. She lay there shaking from chills, and then she rolled over and threw up. What bothered me the most was that she was all alone. Nobody was with her. Didn’t she have family? Where were her parents? Did she even have parents?
I felt absolutely helpless.
Not wanting to scare her, I was reluctant to even approach her. I so wanted to speak her language, but I couldn’t. I wanted to pick her up and hold her tight. I wanted to stroke her hair and tell her it was going to be okay. I wanted to take her to get help. To be honest, I wanted to just take her home, but I couldn’t do any of these things.
Not having a clue what I was going to do, I finally decided to slowly walk over to her. She looked up and our eyes made contact. I reached in my pocket and pulled out three pieces of hard candy I had. I reached out my hand and placed them in her very dirty little hand. I smiled at her. She looked at the candy and smiled back at me the best she could.
As I stepped away, I asked God to heal her and not let her suffer. I also asked Him to never let my heart be unmoved by suffering people.
As I sit at home sick today with a rotten head-cold, I can’t seem to get this little girl off my mind. Even though I’m sick, I have the warmth of a home, the comfort of my bed, medicine, a phone to call a doctor and my sweet wife to serve me. I am not all alone, lying in a pile of garbage.
The Tegucigalpa dump is not a place where a child should ever live, much less ever be sick.