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Landfill Harmonic Orchestra: An Inspirational Composition

This isn’t just another story of how recycled materials have been turned into new items.

In a dumping ground alongside the Paraguay River where over 1,500 tons of waste enters everyday, polluting the waterways which are also the area’s drinking supply, are where around 500 recycling workers and their children hunt through castoffs and refuse, continually digging and sorting.

Often referred to as a sea of garbage, the murky slum of Cateura, Paraguay is one of the poorest zones in the region, causing the polluted landfill the area is built upon to be the main source of available livelihood for many.

The stories that emerge from the landfill community are even more than the layers upon layers of trash, and go deeper than the workers’ hands that toil and rummage daily to support their families.

Resonating from the rubbish, one particular event that has turned into an ever evolving, astonishing story was unearthed by Nicolás Gómez, a junk forager locally known as “Cola”.  With an innovative eye, he took a tossed out object that was similar to a violin to a musician friend, Favio Chávez. This initiated a course of  motivational actions, resulting in possibly one of the most unbelievably produced orchestras to date.

Starting with the one piece of trash that was turned into a fully functioning violin, the ingenious duo unearthed and reworked other finds into exquisitely sounding musical instruments. The recycling adventure could have stopped at this point and still be incredible, however the two communally offered their inventions to nearly 30 resident students, many of which are children of recycling workers, to form the world renowned Landfill Harmonic Orchestra.

Transforming reusable objects like oven trays, paint cans and any other salvageable materials, enough instruments have been skillfully crafted to arm the group with enough pieces to perform.

And these children did not master their recycled instruments in an air-conditioned studio, but as their perfectly entitled ensemble refers to, in the landfills where they live.

Though hearing about it is remarkable in itself, actually seeing the handcrafted works of art so masterfully played by members is truly inspirational.

And just because one video clip isn’t enough, watch and listen to this one courtesy of the guardian.

The truly talented orchestra is beginning to explode worldwide, and currently a documentary is in the works as a Kickstarter project called: Landfill Harmonic: Inspiring dreams one note at a time!

A proactive endeavor to lift up deserving children from the literal garbage they are continually in the midst of is a recycling venture like no other. Those who provide opportunity for others from seemingly nothing should be commended, and those who see true beauty and potential, and strive to attain their best when their surroundings are less than optimal, are rightfully celebrated.

Image Source: Landfill Harmonic

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