Landfill Orchestra

We were listening to CBC radio yesterday when we heard a story about kids forming an orchestra in the slumps of Paraguay

The town of Cateura was built virtually on top of a landfill. Situated along the banks of the Paraguay River, the landfill receives over 1,500 more tons of solid waste each day. Poor management of the waste has caused critical pollution to the most important water source in the country and threatens the health of it’s residents.

There are seven different neighborhoods built around the landfill, accounting for over 2500 families living in close proximity to dangerous waste.

Most of the families, including children, are employed by the landfill as recyclers. The poverty has forced children to work in the landfills, neglecting any education that might lead them to a better life.

Their teacher, Favio Chavez decided to provide something positive in their lives. He decided to try and create musical instruments from the one resource in plenty, after seeing a violin made from garbage.

The music the children produced was beautiful. When we watched the trailer for the documentary it was plain to see how proud and happy these children were and how basic their instruments looked.
Landfill Harmonic film teaser on Vimeo

It was wonderful and inspiring to see children striving to create meaning in their lives in a place built on garbage. The teachers and children did not see the lack of funds or instruments as a wall stopping them from achieving their goals, only an obstacle to surmount. They were able to accomplish so much from the refuse of society and create beauty from it

How often have I used the lack of funds, proper equipment, time or talent as an excuse for not starting something. These children and their parents and teachers have done something amazing- they have not let circumstances ,societal expectations or apparent resources define what they are capable of.

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