Kunming is a quaint little city by Chinese standards; population 2.5 million. That is the official count. However, according to some local experts, the actual population is over 4 million. So where are these extra 1,500,000 people?

They live in little back alleys with no mailing address, far removed from the official census trackers.

Who are they? They are often poor country folks who have moved to the big city to find their fortune. They are like the four Buyi (Boo Eee) families who live a literal stone’s throw away (depending on who is throwing) from the Project Grace site.

The Buyi are despised by most Chinese as their tribe has a much-earned reputation for being thieves and scoundrels. But these four families have found their fortune. A fortune in trash. They survive by picking through the trash heaps of Kunming.

One of the families lives in a dirty rat infested shack. A single room is home to ten of them (yes, 10); Grandpa, Grandma, their two children with spouses, and four grandchildren under the age of 6. The men are responsible for finding mounds of trash and transporting it by bicycle back to their little alley. The women work by sorting through the trash and finding what can be sold to recyclers.

The family earns almost $100 US per month, which is a fine income for a family of junk collectors. In their minds, they have hit it big in the big city.

The three men try to head off early in the morning to scrounge for the best trash. Kind of the ‘early bird gets the worm’ approach.

How do we relate to these people who seem so different? But perhaps not all that different. Are they similar to the broker on the west coast who rises early to get a jump on the day with the eastern markets? The bird wants the best worm; the broker wants the best stocks; the Buyi want the best trash. Maybe we are not so different after all.

Next time you take out the trash, remember the staff of Bless China clinic as we reach out to the Buyi. They may be invisible to the government, but they are of value to their Creator.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

“Store up for yourselves treasure in Heaven…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” - Jesus

To be continued . . .

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