A report from Gideon Jacob
Over recent days I have been deeply saddened and cut to the heart by a rubbish tip, which is located five kilometres from our church. The entire refuse from our 1.8 million inhabitants is transported and dumped there. 38 families with 52 children are living directly at the foot of this rubbish tip – exactly five metres distance away. There is no running water, no toilets, no washrooms, no lighting. The stench and the filthy environment could "kill you" just by coming close to it. In the rainy season as we have now, everything becomes even worse, and don't even talk about the pandemic. In spite of the bitter poverty and the desperate living conditions, these people are very kind and in spite of the dirt, the kids are very cute. However their plight on the rubbish tip moved me very deeply emotionally. What a blessing that I do not have to live under such conditions!
I spoke with a woman at this settlement, who was obviously the boss and I offered that we could build closed toilets and washrooms for the people there, if a piece of land could be found close by. Currently all the children (!) and adults are working 12 hour days at the rubbish tip. There are no wages, although the rubbish tip belongs to the city refuse department. They are only allowed to sort out and collect recyclable materials such as plastic, textiles, metal etc and sell them. The woman told me that she manages to make just three Euros per day. When I asked her where she showered or went to the toilet she simply pointed the rubbish tip: "That is our place of living, for everything. Our children were born here and they will also be buried here."
Each of her words and those of the other people living there hit me like a thorn in my heart. We distributed food aid packages there and also clothing for the younger children. Today, as you are reading this newsletter, all the children will be receiving another food distribution, and the older ones will receive new clothing. But despite all the aid which we could provide, their living standards still remain desperate. "Poor people have no privacy", someone once said to me – and this is further proof of this. The huts of these people were incredibly filthy, cramped, dark, stinky, damp and without any fans.
When I drove away, the people were waving friendly to us and thanked us with their smiles – faces which are not so easily forgotten! Naturally we invited these families to our church. On this day, we from the church at Trichy were all your extended arm. Without your support it would have been possible to provide this aid so quickly and easily; and so it will continue into the future. The images which were imprinted on my heart on this day will remain with me forever. I will not rest or be quiet until we have found solutions for these people! We pray that God will help us in this!
Yours, ever united in the love of Jesus