Recently my daughter, Maryrose Young, sent me a short video of the LandFill Harmonic orchestra. The inspirational video powerful depicts the imago Dei humanity of the poorest of the poor. Men, women, and children who live and work in a garbage dump discover the treasure of classical music, a little taste of the beauty God put in the creation!
“In the barrios of Paraguay, a humble garbage picker uses his ingenuity to craft instruments out of recycled materials – and a youth orchestra is born. Music arises and children find new dreams.”
The story reminds me of Larry Ward’s call for Food for the Hungry staff to “plant flower seeds in refugee camps.” Or Pastor Luke, from the Soweto slum in Nairobi, Kenya, challenging young people to see that “garbage” is gold.
Now we have a third narrative to add, the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra of the garbage dump in Cateura, Paraguay, directed by Favio Chavez. Listen and cry for joy with me,
This is a wonderful example of what we call the development ethic from Genesis: people using what they have, the resources in their own community, to add value to their world. At the core of this vision is the heart and soul of people, made in God’s image, acting creatively. In this story they are growing in their appreciation of timeless classical music and instruments, and sharing that joy with others.
Are you gifted in music or painting? Do you have a heart for people and families who are poor? I would challenge you to consider how God might use you this year to engage someone who is disenfranchised, disabled, or impoverished to open their life to the beauty of God. How might you help them learn to mimic His beauty? Poverty is solved, not by outside money, but by awakening the incredible creativity and innovation of people, even in the midst of their poverty.
Use your creative imagination. If a 13-year-old girl living on a garbage dump can play Mozart with a piece of metal and a stick of wood … if a 19-year-old boy can reproduce Beethoven with an old oil tin and a fork … what other bits of beauty could derive from everyday things where poverty has robbed so many of joy?
Who but an imago Dei creature could create classical music with garbage?
Here is more:
The Cateura Recycled Orchestra directed by Favio Chavez, from the documentary Landfill Harmonic, plays with @BertaRojas
“Landfill Harmonic” The Recycled Orchestra Of Paraguay
Turning trash into musical instruments for Paraguay’s children
Watch, read and dream new dreams. Then go on to contribute in some way to wholistic development.
I end with the words of Favio Chavez: “Music causes children to connect and feel they are building something together. Our orchestra feels special because the children make beauty out of garbage.”
– Darrow Miller