Children of the Dump Announces


In a year that has seen so much go bad for the poor people of Puerto Vallarta; the worst has happen to the poorest of them. It is no secret that Mexico, like many developing countries, faces nightmarish environmental problems brought on by domestic poverty and neglect, as well as by international businesses that are located in Mexico to avoid pollution laws in their home nations. Mexico is trying hard to address these environmental problems and one causality is the Puerto Vallarta landfill. On one hand, it's hard not to applaud the decision to close such an eyesore. The government of the state of Jalisco acted wisely in converting the dump into a transfer station for a landfill two hours away. But for the families who live around and work in the dump, supporting themselves by scavenging recyclable and reusable items from the garbage, the decision to close the dump is an economic disaster.

No More Fireflies
Over the past six months or so, Puerto Vallarta has been hit by a one-two punch of bad news. First, economic conditions elsewhere cut the usual winter flow of tourists to a trickle. So many here depend on hotel, restaurant and other tourism-related employment, and their jobs suffered first. The effects of those layoffs rippled through the economy: Construction halted, service-industry jobs suffered and local residents suffering cutbacks bought fewer groceries, fewer clothes, and fewer goods and services from local businesses. When it looked as bad as it could look, the H1N1 Swine Flu hit. Not that the illness spread in any systematic-or even in any discernable-way, but the panic about the H1N1 Swine Flu in Mexico gripped foreign tourists, and those few who still had the income and desire to visit stayed home. What a sour economy didn't stifle, the H1N1 Swine Flu did. Over the past few months, our partners at Perdon y Amistad noticed a new phenomenon. More and more people began scavenging at the dump: At night, so many people were working at the dump by the light of battery-powered lamps, that from a distance, the landfill looked like a field of a thousand fireflies.

A thousand hungry fireflies. So far this year, Perdon y Amistad has served more meals at the dump than it has in years, including meals at night. It's easy to overuse the expression "That the need has never been greater", but over the past months, the lights of a thousand fireflies have illustrated this grime truth. And now, the light of the last firefly has gone dark. Those who were relying on other peoples trash for the barest of existences have nothing-not even environmentally-dangerous garbage- on which to live. The government may have moved the landfill, but it hasn't moved the impoverished families who depended on it.
About Children of the Dump
Up to now we have gained a lot. Two hundred students have just completed another school year at the "School of Champions". In late June, the students celebrated with a party provided courtesy of the Sheraton Bougainvillea Resort. With our two new classrooms and many enthusiastic volunteers and children we look forward eagerly to the next school year.
With the economic conditions in Canada and the United States, the cupboard at Perdon y Amistad is bare. We have made great progress over the past ten years, but if we cannot address this most basic need now - feeding the poorest children in Puerto Vallarta - we will lose much of what we have gained.

But for now, in the hot, slow, desperate days of summer 2009, we must address the human tragedy flowing from economic and environmental causes. Please take a moment now to send your contribution to us or with the button below.
Children of the Dump
Micheal L. Parker, Sr.


Our kids are faced with an economic meltdown which is a grave threat to their health and wellbeing, please help us deliver services and food they need. Please use the PayPal button to make an immediate contribution that will help us in this effort or send a check to Children of the Dump, 718 Griffin Ave. PMB#207, Enumclaw, WA. 9822-3462. Thank you in advance for any help you can give. Please keep the children in your prayers along with our friends at Perdon y Amistad who are delivering the food that is donated.

A note from Karen:
What can you do to help? We can each do a little bit to help a starving child so close to home! In fact, you could hop on a plane and take the kids out to lunch yourself by tomorrow. Or, we could each send even a little money. Please help me spread the word via email, blogging, and Facebook.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Where Does the Lone Ranger Take His Trash? By Jane Stillwater is an intimate look at a day at the dump and an interview with the founder of Children of the Dump.
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