It was a hot afternoon. Too hot to be bumping along in the old LandRover. Too hot to be standing in the middle of a smelly garbage dump.
We didn’t see her at first. Maybe it was because her skin, blackened with dirt, blended in so well with her surroundings. Maybe it was because I never expected to see a baby on the side of a road. Lying on her tummy, on a small, stained piece of foam, wearing only an old shirt. No mommy, no auntie in sight. Just a couple of one-year-olds toddling around, watching life unfold around them.
My heart welled up when I noticed that “new baby” look in her slightly glassy eyes, her tongue sticking in and out of her mouth. Next to her was a dirty baby bottle. We rinsed it as best we could and filled it with some of our water. After a few seconds of wondering what was in her mouth, she suddenly started vigorously sucking on the bottle, swallowing its contents in just a couple of minutes. Still no mom in sight.
As I sat on the dirt and played with her little hands, talking to her sweet little face, the world around me dimmed. I found myself praying for her to be safe, to be healthy, to feel God’s arms around her as she grows up in horribly decrepit surroundings. She responded with some newborn gurgles, and I felt truly alive. He sees her. He knows her name. And for a few minutes, He let me in on the joy He feels when He looks into her eyes.
It’s seems weird to put the words “Dump” and “Community” together. A mainly transient population of up to three hundred people eat, sleep, work and play amidst dirt and stench of these hills of trash. Here Compasio builds friendships and meets simple needs such as providing water and basic medical care. It seems that there is always an opportunity to show practical love, whether colouring with kids, fixing a bicycle or helping children with infections that they’ve contracted from being in the trash.
The need in this place is obvious and it is deep. Remember these beautiful people in prayer as well as our staff who love and serve them.
Here is a CNN story on the Mae Sot Dump