How much would we pay for one more day with our loved ones?
In Guatemala City's National Cemetery the value of human dignity is 250 quetzelas (approximately $36) every two years. Families rent a burial spot much like our mausoleums. The families dutifully visit the graves, washing them and decorating with with flowers and gifts. If they are unable to pay the rental fee, they lose their space at the cemetery. The bodies are removed and thrown over the edge of the cliff into the outer edge of the city dump. Hovering over the dump are hundreds, if not thousands, of vultures. The smell rises from the bottom of the cliff--trash and bodies.
Women and children are treated as commodities. They are actively traded as sex slaves throughout Central America. Women are used by men and then discarded, often times with children to raise. One of the pregnant teens that we met at the government orphanage was found working as a prostitute. The girl's mother, who had originally sent her to be a prostitute, brought her birth certificate to prove she was eighteen and could be released. I know that beautiful girl is already back to work on the streets. What will happen to her and her baby?
In some extreme cases, children as simply abandoned by their parents. One disabled boy was found in the dump, thrown out like trash by his parents. He is a bright, happy boy that deserves a family who will help him develop and show him love. I can't imagine being so detached from your child that you could thrown him or her away, knowing they will most certainly die.
Everyone has value and deserves dignity. Psalm 139:14 reminds us that we are all "fearfully and wonderfully made." Life is priceless!