Opportunity and the Landfill Harmonic
This the end of this story of the Children of the Landfill but not the end of their story.
Here is proof of how these Children react to opportunity when offered. It is evident that these Children understand that their hard work, dedication, commitment, and perseverance will pay off.
They have the greatest commitment, of anyone I know of, to take action on opportunity. Knowing it won’t be easy, but worth it, they work as if it means their survival. AND IT DOES!
The most diminished of all Entrepreneurs but also the most successful.
The Remarkable Landfill Harmonic.
They are inspirational. They inspire because they too are born into entrepreneurship but they don’t have entrepreneurial parents or homes or schools or safety or security. They have nothing but their own creativity and drive and their will to survive.
For those of you that are not familiar with what a landfill entrepreneur really is, let me introduce you to the members of the Landfill Harmonic.
“Their Instruments May Be Garbage, But the Music Will Bring Tears to Your Eyes.”
Ever heard of a town built on a garbage dump? We hadn’t until last year when I discovered a community on the outskirts of Asuncion, the capital of the tiny, impoverished South American country of Paraguay.
It’s called Cateura and there is trash everywhere — in its streets, its rivers, in people’s backyards — but I decided to take you to Cateura tonight, not because of the poverty or the filth, but because of the incredible imagination and ingenuity of the people who live there. This story is also a reminder that, ultimately, music will triumph everywhere and anywhere.
Garbage is the only crop in Cateura and the harvest lasts 12 months a year. It is Cateura’s curse, its livelihood and the only reason people live here, providing hundreds of jobs to peasant farmers who were kicked off their plots by large land owners.
They are the Landfill Pickers. It is their profession. They sift through the waste and stench 24 hours a day, scrounging for anything they can sell — 10 cents for a pound of plastic, five cents for a pound of cardboard.
Cateura didn’t exist before Paraguay’s capital Asuncion started dumping its trash here. The town grew up around the garbage and became one of the poorest places in South America.
Twenty-five hundred families live here now. There is hardly any electricity or plumbing. The drinking water is contaminated. Many of the children move from broken homes to crime and drugs.
The residents of Cateura, Paraguay, don’t just make a living from the massive garbage heap in their town. They also make music and the instruments to play.
You’ll be amazed at what else people here are doing with this trash…just look and listen.
The “Landfill Harmonic”
(Landfill harmonic – La armonía del vertedero – Orquesta de Instrumentos Reciclados de Cateura)
An orchestra for kids with instruments made from trash?
A cello made from an oil can and pieces of wood, that were thrown in the garbage; a saxophone made of spoons and buttons. These instruments are crafted by Nicolas, a ‘recycler’ with no previous experience making musical instruments, who is living ‘hand-to-mouth’ by the garbage dump in Catuera, Paraguay.
Inspired by this initiative and creativity, Maestro Luis Szaran, director of “Sounds of the Earth,” formed the ‘recycled orchestra,’ with children living near the dump. “Our main goal isn’t to form good musicians, but to form good citizens.” Now 30 members strong, (and looking for more, for a full orchestra) listen to the sweet sounds of these ‘recycled’ instruments and the hopes and dreams of the children Children of the Landfillwho play them. … Be Amazed and Inspired!