The Dump and The Lie of Hopelessness Behind Poverty

Good afternoon from Westminster, MD!

What comes to mind when you think of a trash dump? This is not a trick question. For most people the answer is trash. However, in many corners of the world you will find something you might not expect: people. The fact that there are people in a trash dump may not surprise you, but that there are people, including children, scavenging the dump for recyclables they can sell to earn enough money to barely survive probably does.

I encountered this reality on my recent trip to Bluefields, Nicaragua. Sadly, this was not the first time I had seen this heartbreaking picture of poverty. I had gone to La Chureca, an even larger dump in Managua, many times before it was cleaned up and turned into a recycling plant. This didn’t make our visit to the dump in Bluefields any easier. Seeing people standing in the midst of trash and smoke from small fires throughout the dump is a reminder of the brokenness in this world.

Imagine if you believed your best chance of feeding your family was to dig through trash? How would this impact the way you see yourself and your future? While I can only speak for myself, one world would probably comes to mind for most of us: hopeless. Unable to see beyond your current circumstances, you may begin to believe you are as worthless as the trash around you.

Many people wonder why poverty continues to persist despite the incredible amounts of resources committed to ending it. The problem is we often stop at the surface and miss the root that is feeding it: hopelessness. When someone believes they were created for a life of “less than” and the lack of opportunity they see around them reinforces this belief, hopelessness often becomes their default setting, making it incredibly difficult to escape poverty.

In an article published in The Akron Beacon Journal, Jim Mullen says hopelessness is a “mired sense of futility that spreads among those people barely keeping afloat” and that it keep those trapped in it, and those around them, “bonded to poverty” convincing them it will never end.

So is there hope in the midst of the hopelessness? Is there hope for the people living in the trash dump in Bluefields, or is hopelessness a permanent state?

The answer is yes. Why? Hopelessness is a lie. While powerful, hopelessness can be overcome with real, all-in hope. What exactly is all-in hope? Check back next time for a different look at hope and its power to diminish poverty by exposing the lie of hopelessness.

Would you like to read about the power of hope to create change and the role you can play in overcoming issues like poverty? Click here to sign up to receive my newsletter as well as a free bonus resource, 5 Foundational Steps to Make a True Difference in Someone’s Life. You will also receive updates on my upcoming book, Hope Realized.

No one is truly hopeless.

James Belt

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