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Guatemala City Dump

Journal 2


They gawk and squawk, snap and talk.
They fly and cry, swarm and storm.
They search and search among the lost.
They eat what was tossed
for survival is their main sauce.
I work all day among these black beasts.
In the cold wet damp air, and never cease.
By the end of the day my face is as black as theirs.

I keep wondering if anyone really cares.
I watch my steps because I know
If I end up dead, they'll eat me whole.
I ask you now who is better off,
Me or the vultures in the Guatemala city dump?

-Aaron Schmucker 1-28-04

I saw you today, from my safe-wealthy observation deck.
I looked out into your world.
And my heart broke, it wept tears-
tears of anger. tears of hatred. tears of distress.
Anger at the world, at humans, at God for allowing life to be so cruel.
Hatred for the wealthy, for the selfish, for me, for your life here.
Distress for I don't know what to do to change this reality.
I longed to see your face.
To see your eyes-your path, your thoughts, your life.
From above, I saw you struggle-
Crawling through the trash, through urine and shit-
Searching for your survival.
And you found a rotten banana.
Your hands-broken, weathered, filthy-
Peeled the banana- full of worms, dirt, and rot-
And you, my abuelita, gave this rot to your grandson-
Whom you love so dearly.
His eyes lit up, like you had given him all he wanted for Christmas.
His sustenance is someone else's trash.
No words can explain the pain in my heart.
Abuelita- life should not be this way.
And I feel helpless.
Life is so messed up-
The way you suffer-
And here I am in my fairy tale world with more than I deserve.
God-where are you? How can you damn people on earth?
How can you allow such suffering, an inescapable hell-on-earth?
Where are you?
And what, what do I do now?

-Jonalyn Denlinger
written after visiting the city dump

Photo galleries:
(from most to
least recent)

Gallery 7

Gallery 6

Gallery 5

Gallery 4

Gallery 3

Gallery 2

Gallery 1