Heaven to earth!!!!
I have had the privilege to work in a cartonero settlement for the last three months in Buenos Aires which has been a real eye opener. Cartonera is a spanish word and it is basically a trade that appeared at the time of the economic crisis in and continues in Argentina to this day. Cartonera comes from the word Carton which means cardboard. Basically there are men who lost their jobs and even careers at the time of the crisis when basically the working class people in Argentina dropped off the map. So these men go around the city with huge wagons that they pull manually collecting cardboard that people leave outside their houses which the dustbin men don't pick up. Even though it is recognised as a job and it isn't illegal they are treated with a lot of contempt. It is back breaking work and there isn't huge amounts of return for their work
Some of the families of these workers live in an area which we call Patetnal where the people have set up home on a disused piece of land that has been taken over and inhabited unfortunately it is illegal and these people's homes could be demolished at any second. They sprang up all over Argentina just after the crisis and have been around ever since.
It is an amazing place at first glance you might think it was just a dump site, there is a huge amount of rubbish around which the houses are actually built out of. There are some houses which are shacks and there is complete garbage and no sense of a home however there are other houses which have electricity, sanitation, sofas carpets and rooms where they are continuing to build. I don't know how they manage to get these resource however despite their poverty they are people of ingenuity. There is even a family where they seem to be running a business they have a parking station for the wagons and they seem to have like a little shop!
I have noticed that most Argentines are capable of making a business out of anything when there isn't a trade they will invent it seemingly out of nothing.
We have ran a few events in this place and we regularly visit the people who live there and with some families we are making some amazing head way giving them bibles, evangelising to the people there and starting to discipling them. The more I am exposed to people with such backgrounds I understand more and more why God wanted me to do the counselling school . Despite the environment they live in they just get on with it and it is normal life. You often find kids wandering around or youths with hanging out not doing much. However the people there have welcomed us into their community and they are incredible hospitable. Despite the poverty despair and garbage I find the place as a strange kind of beauty and I look forward to forging stronger friendships with the people there and also see how heaven can come to Earth in such places