(Photo Copyright: Timothy Bouldry) You may recognize the photo of the 7-year-old boy above, Jeshua. He was featured on the cover of a recent newsletter. We recently learned that Jeshua passed away. He lived and worked in La Chureca, the garbage dump in Managua, Nicaragua. He was addicted to sniffing glue, and the complications from his addition and living in the dump ended his life.
Throughout communities located on or near the garbage dumps in Nicaragua, children are seen sniffing glue: some very young, but most of them are teenagers, either walking erratically, speaking with garbled speech or lying passed out on the ground from the effects of this addiction.
Why are so many kids from these garbage dump communities sniffing glue?
Glue is sold to people working in the garbage dump because it is a hunger suppressant. Families who work in the dumps often do not make enough money to purchase food, so they buy glue to quell the painful feeling of hunger instead. It is cheaper than food and readily available.
Unfortunately toluene, a chemical in the glue does more than stop hunger pains. It is highly addictive and causes brain damage, paralysis, kidney and liver failure, and eventually death. However, when severe hunger pains come, these known, dire consequences are disregarded. In the mind of a child, like Jeshua, the best solution is to find the cheapest and fastest fix.
Our food programs in the developing world are one way to combat this issue. Through Step by Step scholarships, students receive nutritious meals every day, whether lunch at school, or breakfast and dinner at home. No child should feel the pains of hunger. No child should have to resort to sniffing glue for hunger relief. Please consider contributing to our food programs. By doing so, you will save a child’s life before it is too late.