Recycling for Music



OEA-OAS, via Flickr

Is it possible for anything good to come out of garbage? Liz Waid and Ryan Geertsma look at a group of people making musical instruments out of garbage.

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

 In 2006, Favio Chavez began an unusual recycling program. The program was in Cateura, Paraguay. Cateura is a town organized around one Paraguay’s largest landfills. Here, waste collection companies bring waste from all over the area. Many people in the town work at the landfill. They are garbage pickers. They sort the waste looking for things that they can recycle. Some things can be cleaned and reused. Other things can be sold for the value of their material. In some families both the mother and father are garbage pickers. So, often their children play or work at the landfill with their parents.

Voice 2 

Favio Chavez decided he wanted to help the children of Cateura. He wanted to give them the chance to learn music. But, he did not have enough instruments.  So Chavez and a garbage picker named Nicolas Gomez decided to try an experiment. They would use the community’s resource of garbage to make instruments. Today’s Spotlight is on the “The Recycled Orchestra” of Cateura.

Voice 1 

Favio Chavez had studied music for many years. He loved music. And he wanted to teach the children of Cateura to love it to. So, he began teaching children from the landfill. Quickly, he had more students than instruments. Chavez knew there was a need for more instruments. But buying more of them was not possible. The instruments cost too much money. He had five instruments of his own. He had tried to let students borrow his instruments. But most of them would not take the instruments home. They felt they did not have a safe place to keep the instruments. They worried that someone would damage or steal the instruments. In a film about his work, Chavez explained,

Voice 3

“A community like Cateura is not a place to have a string instrument like a violin. In fact, a violin is worth more than a house here.”

Voice 2 

So Chavez decided to start working with Nicolas Gomez. Gomez was a garbage picker. But he was also skilled at building things from metal and wood. Together they created musical instruments from materials they found in the garbage. Old pieces of metal became violins. An old fork used for eating now held the strings of the violin in place. Large, empty metal containers that once held oil now made the body of a cello. The tops of bottles made good keys to cover holes in the clarinet.

Voice 1 

Over time Chavez and Gomez continued to improve the instruments. They discovered which kinds of recycled material created the best sounds for each instrument. In fact, the recycled instruments sounded very similar to costly musical instruments. In a short film about his work, Gomez said,

Voice 4 

“I never imagined myself building an instrument like this. And I feel very happy when I see a child playing a recycled violin.”

Voice 2 

Using these instruments Chavez taught the children music. As they each learned their own instrument, they also learned to play together. Chavez called the children, “The Recycled Orchestra.” Many parents noticed his work. They noticed that music kept their children safe. It kept them away from illegal drugs and dangerous groups or gangs. More parents asked Chavez to teach their children music. His group quickly began to grow.

Voice 1 

Chavez’s music program and the recycled instruments have had a positive effect on the children in Cateura. Brandon Cabone is 16 years old. He plays the bass in the orchestra. His bass is made from a large metal can. It has a deep low sound. He told People magazine that playing in the orchestra has given him hope.

Voice 5 

"Before the orchestra, there was nothing to do. There are a lot of bad things to get involved with - like drugs. The orchestra has been a big change in my life. My father is happy the orchestra is there. Chavez has taught me many things about life and education. I would like to continue my education at a university. I would like to have a better life. I would like to play in an expert orchestra."

Voice 2 

Since Chavez began his music program, he has taught more than 100 children. He sees the hope it gives the children. But he also notices that it brings hope to the whole community of Cateura. He told the Urban Gardens website.

Voice 3 

“In Cateura, there is a lot of drug use, alcohol, violence, and child labor. These are situations that are not good for children to learn values. However, they have a place in the orchestra. It is like an island in the community. It is a place where they can develop these values. We see that they are not just changing their own lives, but the lives of their families too. We have seen cases where parents with addiction problems stop taking drugs to go their children’s music performances. And in a lot of cases the parents have gone back to finish school. They do this because they see the success of their children. Their children are performing in many places and people see them. The parents think, ‘they are going forward, I want to too.’ The children are not only changing their lives, but the lives of their families and their community.”

Voice 1 

In 2009, two film makers noticed Chavez’s work with the orchestra. The next year, they decided to make a film about the orchestra. Graham Townsley is the director of the film. He described to Fox News why they felt the story was important to share.

Voice 6 

“This story encourages wonder and respect. These people live in poverty and still have the spirit to make this orchestra. It is amazing.“

Voice 2 

In 2014, the filmmakers will release the film they created. It will be called “The Landfill Orchestra.” The film will show how the children and the recycled instruments brought hope and change to the community of Cateura. But Chavez told Fox News that he hopes the world will hear another message too.

Voice 3 

“I made this orchestra to teach the world and help them see the problem. But it is also a social message. It lets people know that although these students are in extreme poverty, they can also give something to the world.  They deserve a chance.”

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Courtney Schutt. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again and read it on the Internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “Recycling for Music.”

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you have anything that you saved from the garbage?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on January 06, 2014

It was an excellent idea to teach the children performing music with recycled instruments. Music has changed the lives of children, their parents and all the community too. Musical aktivity certainly can protect the poor children from influencing of drugs, alcohol, violence and it also can decrease impact of the harmful environment they live in. Music, it is the wonderful, unimaginable power that can help us improve our life, music has the ability to fight evil.
Today, I enjoy listening to my favorite speakers in this program, thank you very much!

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Cuộc Sống Tươi Đẹp
said on January 06, 2014

Hi everyone, please tell me the song at 2min33 ^^

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kenhieuloilam
said on January 09, 2014

Each of us tries much to live our lives well. We try much to become good persons of families and communities. We try much to become good persons to be able to do good things. We try much to become right and good persons to be able to do beautiful good things. Not good things destroy the life. We keep away from not good things. We go to beautiful good things.