Jayne Brennan: Were you, too, moved by ‘Trash’?
Here in Nevada County we are fortunate to have the library and Superintendent of Schools’ sponsored program, Nevada County Reads and Writes, suggesting thought-provoking literature for the enjoyment and participation of young and old alike.
The 2015 book selection was “Trash” by Andy Mulligan. If you read this compelling novel, you too are probably still haunted by the images Mulligan created: undernourished, barely clothed children living in homemade shanties while picking through mountains of trash every day to find something of value; the “school” run by a loving Father Juilliard who couldn’t keep students away from their trash picking long enough to become educated — the smell, the rats and the brutally corrupt authorities.
Recently, while attending mass at St. Teresa’s in Auburn, our associate pastor’s brother was visiting from the Philippines. He began the homily sharing his experience of being with and assisting some 186 orphans who search in the dump site daily for things of value to sell, as their way to earn a living.
My mind returned to Raphael, Gardo and Rat whose lives seemed to parallel those of Father Rojohn’s orphans. He further related the story of a boy whose feet were so infected that amputation was necessary, and yet upon recovery he insisted upon returning to the trash heap, as he still had two hands to help. While Father Rojohn never asked for financial help, with Trash coming to life before me, I couldn’t help but be moved, and asked myself if I could be of assistance in any way to his real-life “dump site boys” (and girls).
If you too were provoked by “Trash,” and would like to learn more about Father Rojohn’s ministry, please feel free to email his brother, Father Roland Ramirez at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit him in person at St. Teresa of Avila Parish, 11600 Atwood Road, Auburn. He would be more than willing to spend some time sharing this real world trash story with you.
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