In 2007, the
Spanish government began a five-year development project in La Chureca, the
municipal trash dump in Managua home to over 150 families. As part of the project, the trash dump that
provides the sole means of income for families would be turned into a landfill,
a recycling plant would be built and new houses would be constructed. After years of anticipation the changes are
now really coming to fruition. The
recycling plant was up and running in early December, offering a set salary to
at least one parent of each household. The
day before the current group of Program Directors was set to leave for Winter
Break, the government barged into the community in large camouflage painted
trucks tearing away the old houses piece by piece. Families were moved one by one to their new
houses in a matter of a few hours.
Returning from break, we were anxious to find each family safe and
healthy in their new homes. For the
majority, this is what we found.
Children running around their new concrete floors, jumping on their own
sturdy twin beds, drinking their milk in a new kitchen; on the outside it
seemed idyllic. However, used to living
in houses where gas and water were free, running their new sink taps and
cooking in their new stoves would quickly come at a cost. The livestock their livelihoods relied on are
prohibited in the new land.
Additionally, families are only secured a job at the recycling plant
provided they have an identification card and clean criminal record,
requirements achieved by few. Most
disheartening is the reality that not every family received a title for new
land if they were not present for the census in 2007. For the time being, we are staying in our
clinic as long as the government allows.
We have bought new land near the new houses and are waiting to secure
enough funding to move ahead with the project.
We are taking one day at a time and providing love and support to all
the families so dear to our hearts.