After taking a tour of Safe Passage in November with her high school, a student named Jenny wrote a poem about her experience.
Upon hearing this word, what comes to your mind?
Gradually decaying materials that are uncompostable to the soil?
A source of pollution and breeding ground for pathogens?
A gray zone, ignored, abandoned, left to the will of nature?
You are partially right.
Have you, then, seen a dump,
Located right next to the playground of a school
—concrete ground, basketball stands, surrounded by iron fences—
That makes the school as much of a prison,
As the rest of this capital de Guatemala,
Where you may no longer freely wander about after-noon,
For the safety of your overall being, and
The bacteria-free environment of your within.
“Urban poverty is much crueler than rural ones”
Indeed, it is sufficient proximity that allows for
A closer examination of what YOU may take for granted;
But they do not.
You smell the unimaginable difficulties that they face in life.
They come along with their parents,
And a determination to work diligently in the dump. Ever after.
You live inside a small enclave, not divided by culture or society,
But the greatest barrier that human power can make.
Nutritious? Globalized? Equal?
Opportunities? A life on your own call?
No, those are too distant, over those mountains—
I mean those built by human forces,
From their daily wasting, consumptions
—too many of them to overcome
This place mal-destined
To machismo, violence, control, poverty,
Threats to health, well-being, life, existence…
You were born una mujer, femenina;
But not, never a machine,
An object subject to violence,
Inequality from the male sex.
Haley Danning. A woman like you,
From a different part of the Americas.
She dedicated her life to defend
Children, women, and their rights to education.
Your eyes, blinded by the splendor
Of all different types of degenerating materials,
Focuses their pupils on bracelets that you make,
Of the same pattern, color, component.
You sell the bracelets, earn money,
Deposit the money in banks, with which
You may continue and finish
Your high school education and further.
Education, the ultimate weapon,
With it, one can cause change.
To create, to empower, to make better.
Now a gull flies above the piles of the dump.
“An alternative form of motion”
The far-away outside world
No longer seems
Nothing that cannot
Be overcome by the
Power of time and dedication.
by Mingyi “Jenny” Wang, 2018