On Wednesday I had the opportunity to go to the trash dump community to deliver books to our kindergarten. While I was there I met Istra.
Istra has lived in the community for about 13 years. As we were chatting she told me that she and her family were one of the three original families that lived there. When they first moved there, their house was bordering a beautiful rice field instead of a trash mountain. It’s hard enough to imagine people moving to live near the trash dump, but I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to see your beautiful view turn into a pile of trash.
People come from all over the Island of Java to work here, she told us. Many of the men who pick through the trash don’t bring their families…but rather commute back to their kampungs (villages) where their families live on national holidays.
Istra has three kids, the youngest of whom attends our morning kindergarten class. While the kindergartners are in class, Istra sits outside with a small cooler selling packets of flavored milk that the kids can buy during their short breaks. In a community that suffers from such malnutrition, this is the best possible item that could be sold outside the school.