Originally posted on Friends of Batahola Volunteers:
Dumps like this are found in most Nicaraguan cities, with the largest one in Managua. This is a photo of the dump in Jinotepe. Back behind the trees there is a small community of people who live in shack-houses, and sort through the garbage looking for recyclable materials that can be sold. Around 1,500 people live and work in “La Chureca”, the dump in Managua. Unemployment is extremely high, along with drug use and prostitution. There are elementary and middle-schools, but youth have to travel outside La Chureca to attend high school, if they are lucky. Discrimination of people who live in the dump is a huge barrier.
I have visited La Chureca twice, both times accompanied by long-term volunteers who work in NGOs located within the premises (the Manna Project and Juntos Contigo). The volunteers I’ve encountered are hesitant to give tours to visitors–both for security reasons and the impression it sends to the residents. However, because of my longer-term status here in Managua, they made exceptions. I have heard that sometimes groups of North American tourists make rounds in a tour bus, with their cameras, moved I’m sure by what they see, but not necessarily giving the type of help/attention that is needed or desired. Least to say, I did not bring my camera on my visits to La Chureca.