When I was forwarded this video and story of the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra my thoughts immediately went to the Motto of the City of Detroit penned by its most illustrious missionary priest; Fr. Gabriel Richard after the fire that leveled the city in 1805. He wrote: “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus“; In English: “We hope for better things; and it will arise from the ashes”. The Latin word Speramus translated into English means: We Hope. We hope, pray and work for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The vast landfill site on the outskirts of Asuncion in Paraguay is said to receive 1.5 tons of rubbish each day. While most people might just see piles of plastic and aluminum, Favio Chávez combined his passion for music and his work as a technician to help children turn discarded items into musical instruments. Thus Paraguay's one and only landfill orchestra, the Cateura Orchestra of Recycled Instruments, was born
A garbage picker named Nicolás Gómez or “Cola” found a piece of trash that resembled a violin and brought it to musician Favio Chávez. Using other objects collected from the dump, they constructed a functional violin in a place where a real violin is worth more a house. Using items gleaned completely from the dump, they also built a cello, a flute, a drum, and suddenly had a wild idea: could a children’s orchestra be born in one of the most depressed areas in the world? As you can guess, the answer was yes.
All of the musicians of the Landfill Orchestra come from Cateura. In the midst of such a bleak existence, they have created something both special and inspiring. "My life would be worthless without music." says one girl in pigtails. A young man named Juan Manuel Chavez, nicknamed Bebi, has a cello fashioned out of an oil can and old cooking tools. For the camera, he plays the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 — beautifully. "People realize that we shouldn't throw away trash carelessly," says Chavez at the end of the trailer. "Well, we shouldn't throw away people either!
"When I listen to the sound of a violin I feel butterflies in my stomach"
These simple children out of the garbage dumps are preaching to our modern world with their lives. Their instruments from the garbage heaps are giving renewed hope to a the senseless consumerism and activism of our day. As, we live out our lives on our journey to Heaven awaiting the promised Triumph of Mary. We wait often in the midst of present apprehensions and fears of future sufferings. Take for example the events in Syria with a threat of a 3rd World war looming on our horizon.
Will these words of our Lady have a literal as well as spiritual implications? "If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated" Our Lady, Fatima July 13th, 1917
Even if we suffer from another war the consequences from the effects or our sins as a generation. These children from the garbage heaps are teaching us that the human spirit united to God, can and will rise above a loveless society. The ingenuity of the Human spirit will rise above the destruction and evils around us whether its in the tragedy of poverty or the destructive forces of war men united to God can bring beauty once more to the world from the ashes.
Facebook page for Landfill Harmonic and here’s the website for the upcoming documentary movie (January 2014) about the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra (“The world sends up garbage. We send back music”).
This post registered on Catholic Blogger linkup for September 2013