Imagine you are in a bus. You’re travelling over bumpy ground. There are some loud noises, but it just seems strangely silent as you look out the windows of your bus, trying so hard not to appear as a tourist who’s come to stare. It’s like you’re not really there.. almost as if you’re separated from the scene you’re a part of.

The smells are both overwhelming and indescribable. Unlike anything you’ve ever smelled in your life. There is the smell of dirty human flesh and sweat. And the smells of animals. And of garbage. Rotted food. Sickness. Lots of nasty stuff.

It’s so hard to believe that you’re in a place — this garbage dump — where people actually live.

You’re in Nicaragua. Just minutes from the nicer parts of Managua.


I so hated taking these pictures, because I know I had to look like a tourist.. and I really considered not taking pictures at the garbage dump at all. But.. this is something that really needs to be shared.. and so, I took pictures. Not that the pictures — or even video — could ever capture what these people experience every day. But at least it gives more of a picture than most people would ever guess..


People actually live in those little shacks that you see in these pictures. Kids die in the garbage dump all the time because they sleep on piles of trash, and then garbage trucks come, don’t look where they’re dumping the new trash, and dump it right on top of the kids.


Those who live in the garbage dump get really sick from eating rotten food.. it destroys their insides, making them sick, and then they die from it. See the heat rising from the decomposing garbage?


They go along and collect all sorts of glass and plastic, put them in these huge bags, and then try to sell them for even just a few córdobas.  When I was there, the exchange rate was 17 or so córdobas to the dollar. So even if they make 100 córdobas… it’s just a few dollars.. less than we make in just one hour of work.


It tears up my heart to remember the experience of driving through there. How often do we complain that we don’t like a certain flavor, that it needs butter or salt..? And yet here are these people living so close to us.. who have literally nothing. Thousands of people live in this garbage dump.

One man sponsored an entire family of like 17 people to go and live in the city. He built them a really nice house. And.. one by one.. they all went back to the dump, because he didn’t teach them to work. They went back because they knew that at the dump they would have a steady source of food. Not good food… but it was constant.

So.. next time you throw away that scrap of meat or bread.. remember them. Just take a few minutes and think of these people… Pray for them… And think about what can change in your life.

I think that a lot of times it’s hard to change habits. But also, I know that seeing these people who have absolutely, literally nothing, has sure changed the way I see the world. Not to say that I have it all together now. But I hope that you’ll let it change your world too..