Thursday, April 29, 2010


When I think about my problems I think "Oh great. I'm almost out of money". Or "Shoot, I'm almost out of gas. Now I have to go out of my way to get to the gas station." Sometimes I think "Man... what am I going to do next year? There's so many options. Dang. I'll have to decide about that sometime." But when it comes down to it, these things aren't really problems. I can easily withdraw money from the ATM (even though they charge 150 bot fee beside the point though). I have a motorbike to put gas in. I don't have to pedal a bike around town in hundred degree weather. As for next year, I have choices. I have endless choices.

I met a girl today who has problems. Real problems.

She lives in a garbage dump. She shares a bamboo platform 8 feet long and 5 feet wide with her three sisters and grandmother. A ripped tarp covers the top. It sits on piles of garbage in a city of garbage.

She is 16 years old.

Both of her parents died when she was young. She's been raising her two sisters and taking care of her grandmother since then.

Her head is shaved, probably to make it easier to get rid of lice that stick to her hair as she digs through the garbage desperate to find anything valuable to bring home.

My friend Sia and I sat with her and we talked. I listened. We laughed together. Sia turned to me with tears in her eyes "I want to do something for these girls. I want to just be able to come and sit. To talk with them about life." I silently agreed.

My problems suddenly seemed so small compared to this brave girl's life. She must be on constant guard. She lives in a dangerous place. She is young and beautiful- a target for sex traffickers. She's Burmese- automatically considered of less worth. She digs through the garbage for a living- worth even less.

Yet, as I watched her talk to her grandmother and change out of her filthy pants and into a skirt, I saw hope. She handed 20 bot to her sister. Probably what she earned that day, less than 1 American dollar. She had done her job. They would make it one more day.

The fact that this is happening is, I believe, a problem.


Irene said...

This made me burst into tears.

Roxanna Grimes said...

Speechless. Leaves me speechless. I'm glad she had you today.

Jade Paxton said...

This is beautiful Katie! Thank you for loving!

Jim and Kelly said...