This week, the BBC reported on a huge garbage dump in Brazil and some of the valuable items found by the people who scavenge there. One of those people, named Gloria, described some of the horrors of working at the dump, including being buried under a mountain of garbage, only surviving after her friends dug her out.
But, the report says, “the same dump that was causing her such sorrow and despair brought her salvation – in the form of Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Over the years Gloria had carefully curated a small library of books salvaged from the dump. And she credits a passage in The Brothers Karamazov for teaching her how to love her daughter. ‘It was the books that helped me. They saved me,” she says. “That was my way of living other lives, of travelling. I was a compulsive reader, I would read four or five books a week, and in the midst of that hard life I was high on books!’”
The dump has been replaced by a recycling plant and Gloria is now the coordinator of the facility.