TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS – More than 15 million people worldwide live out their entire existence – work, home, play – in garbage dump communities. They wake up in the morning to the same stench of rotting and decaying garbage that they remembered yesterday.
Try to grasp the reality. These are not a few people who live at or near a local dumpsite. Most Trash Mountains cover several square miles, and it is unlikely that any or even a few young children will escape the hell that surrounds them. The Trash Mountain is their home. The Trash Mountain is where they will work out their 35-year average life expectancy. They scavenge for items of some small potential value for a scrap dealer. On a good day, they may find some clothing that fits a family member or something edible to feed their families.
Since their time and resources are spent in the trash dump itself, education and dreams of the future are pushed to the background. Proper nutrition and housing are nearly non-existent, and because these people are in such desperate situations, various types of crimes are prevalent in their communities.
They identify themselves with the trash and slowly lose their own identity. The poverty that they are in perpetuates year after year, generation after generation, but there are people in these communities that desire a change. There are leaders that want to break the cycle but don’t have the resources to do so. This is where we can help.
Brett and Jaelle Durbin were deeply stirred when they took their first trip to Tegucigalpa and met a family who lived in a shack fashioned from items from the dump. “The smell that surrounded their home was worse than anything we’d ever experienced, produced by the multiple soiled diapers and wild dog feces that lined their dirt floor.” Each family member suffered from malnutrition.
When they returned home in 2009, they were reminded how the Lord had left His glorious home to live among us in this place where the sum total of all our righteousness is filthy rags. He came to us so that, someday soon, we can go to live with Him where He will share his glorious riches with us.
Today, the Trash Mountain Project continues the work begun in Honduras. The Lord has blessed and provided growth opportunities for the project. It is now fully functional in 12 similar communities in five countries around the globe. Each project is approached in collaboration with local churches and other like-minded agencies.
Try to imagine human beings living in garbage dumps where methane gas buildup can cause spontaneous combustion, people get swallowed up and smothered in landslides of garbage, contaminated food and water provide perpetual sickness, exposure to diseases is high due to dumping of medical waste, gang violence has a breeding ground, and mental illness walks inhabitants down a long road to depression and despair.
Brett Durbin has vowed that “TMP is . . . dedicated not only to spread the message of the affliction of children and families within trash dumps around the world but also to encouraging believers to walk alongside those suffering. Together we will join them as a Christian family and provide for their most eminent needs with the purpose of creating disciples honorable of the Lord.”
Trash Mountain Project headquarters are in Topeka, KS.