Friday, December 14, 2012


Ada plays her recycled violin

“We don’t throw away people either.”
A town built on a landfill,
the people of Cateura, Paraguay spend their lives each day
sorting out the last usable bits in the trash.
The water, the air, all are poisoned with waste and runoff.
Here, Szaran and Favio taught the children music.
On a cello made of an oil can,
Bebi, age 19, smilingly offers the ineffable beauty
of the Bach cello suites.
“When I hear the violin, I get butterflies,
says Ada, age 13.
“I don’t know how to explain it.”
Drying out old flour sacks,
and following the garbage trucks,
the people make a few pennies to survive.
“You can’t have a violin here.  
It would cost more than your house.”
And now, an orchestra of children,
the children of the landfill town,
an orchestra of instruments reclaimed from the trash.
“My life would be meaningless without music,”
says a girl, as delicate as the strains she picks out on the strings.
How this world is cruel, unkind, unjust,
and full of miracles!
“We don’t throw people away either.”

Annelinde Metzner
December 14, 2012

Watch some of the Cateura children in the Landfillharmonic here

Bebi plays the cello made from an oil can

A girl from Cateura plays her violin

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome your comments!