Monday, May 5, 2014


Photo Credit: vincentm1 via Compfight cc

I have been "down in the dumps" lately...but not in the way you think. When you think of what that term means, do you ever wonder where it came from and what it actually means? For many years, we took our own trash to the dump when we lived outside the city where there was no garbage pickup. It is a smelly, dirty, foul place where creatures I don't want to think about thrive. But our garbage dumps are sanitary places compared to third world countries, and that is the kind of trash heap I have been in for a few months...

Last year, I received a commission from a friend to do a painting of a little boy, around 8 years old, who lived in a garbage dump in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. She told me the story behind the photo she sent me, and as I painted this little guy, I could not help but reflect on how tragic it is that first world nations are so wrapped up in sports, fashion, luxury vacations and so on that we ignore the millions of children/people who live this life daily - both in third world countries, and in some cases, in our own cities here in Canada. Often, these "dump children" are being raised by a single parent, usually the mother. Their food comes from what they can find in the dump...mostly mouldy, rotten scraps which provide only the lowest amount of nutrition, which keeps starvation just at bay. The children have skin sores, and lesions. You can see the ringworm just under the skin...the conditions are horrible. Their homes are made out of any scraps of cardboard, metal, and wood that they find amongst the garbage, and the way they earn money is to find the few things of value that can be sold, by working the dump. As far as I know, these kids do not get a chance to have any kind of an education. They are doomed to remain in this hopeless life unless someone helps them...

Here is the portrait, and the story of this little guy (who would now be about 18 years old) as written by my client. I hope your heart is touched by his story as was mine.

" I was in Honduras with Compassion Canada about 10 years ago. We had visited a church project in San Pedro Sula. The Pastor was very active in the community. His life was threatened many times as he ministered to the children and had a heart for the people who lived at the dump site. He asked if we would like to see the dump and told us how he came out often to talk to the families and see if they would allow their children to come to church and hopefully at some point get off working the dump. Our bus went out there and we stopped and saw these kids working. There were a couple of rough made homes nearby. We asked the Pastor if it would be okay to stop and get out and maybe meet one of these families. No one meets these families as they are the lowest of lows in society and here these Canadians are asking if we can meet a family. The Pastor got off and went to one of the homes and got permission for us to meet the woman and see her home. The children came running. One little boy ran ahead and pushed open the door and stood there ever so thrilled and proud that these Canadians graced their home. This is the picture of this little boy. When I saw him and how his expression went from wonder to humble pride it reminded me of the verse in Rev 3:20. This little boy represented Jesus and he opened the door for us to enter in. It was amazing how people saw the parallel in what this little boy did, at least the few that saw it. I managed to snap the picture before he ran to his Mother. Today the dump is closed and the Pastor found places for many of the families."

Honduras Boy
transparent watercolor
15.5" x 22"

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