When we first visited a garbage dump in Sandino City, Nicaragua, just outside the capital of Managua last December, our Children’s Feeding Initiative here was just getting underway. Now, just six months later, the program is in full swing and children who were going through garbage to find every meal are now being fed like they’ve never been before. In fact, around 65 kids here are eating through our program everyday.
Jesenia, 32, makes sure her three kids are always here for lunch. Although, she adds, “it doesn’t take much prodding to get them here, they are always hungry.”
Jesenia says her 12-year-old son, Jairo, learned the hard way the hazards of eating food out of the dump.
“Jairo and his younger brother ate spoiled chicken and he was hospitalized with food poisoning,” she says. “They were both very sick and I was just happy they could come to a healthy place to eat when they got better.”
Lesson learned and healthier than Jesenia says he’s ever been, Jairo makes a quick sprint to the feeding site shelter where kids are being fed an afternoon snack of coconut milk shipped in from Springfield, Mo. He gulps it down and groups up to play with the other kids who’ve gathered.
Sisters Heydi, 13, and Cynthia, 16, hop off the back of a large dump truck to join the group. The inseparable pair risks their safety everyday, picking through garbage just to find scraps of plastic to sell for food. But, they say some of the burden has been lifted because they get food everyday at lunch thanks to Convoy of Hope and its supporters.
“I want to have a real life someday because my life is hard here,” says Cynthia. “Now that I know I have food it is getting better.”
Heydi and Cynthia both say they dream of getting out of the dump someday and having healthy families.
Pablo Gomez, country director for Nicaragua, says the program in his country has brought change to a forgotten community that never expected it.
“We have witnessed these children becoming much happier and more healthy since our feeding site opened here,” says Gomez. “Most people don’t have any idea what it is like to live life day-by-day in a place like this, but what is encouraging is that there are so many supporting our efforts here in Nicaragua.”
There are now more than 5,000 children enrolled in our Children’s Feeding Initiative in Nicaragua and there are 32 feeding sites in place. Children are being fed and are feeling better inside and out.