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The Recycled Orchestra By Deb Williams

When I come across moving stories like these, I am filled with admiration for the triumph of the human spirit. I believe that there is always a choice, no matter how improbable this might sometimes seem. When things are really bad it is difficult to stay focused on anything positive, yet this gives the best chance of eventually rising above the circumstances.

One inspiring demonstration of this has come from people living at Cateura in Paraguay, their village built on landfill. In the face of extreme poverty, unhygienic living conditions, lack of education and the presence of drugs, a children’s orchestra achieving world-wide acclaim has arisen. Instead of playing in the murky water or working as trash pickers on the garbage dumps, the children are now playing beautiful classical music on instruments made from bits and pieces of junk from the dump.

It did not come easily. Before fruition, the instruments had to be painstakingly constructed and perfected, the children introduced to and then trained in classical music, public awareness raised. Enough people had to care enough to make it happen. Their gift of music to the children has blessed the world and set in motion similar initiatives elsewhere. May their generosity inspire more positive actions in places where the need is great.

Two spot-on sayings from Cateura: “The solution is not to run away from a place. The solution is to change the place.”
“Having nothing is not an excuse for doing nothing.”


in Cateura, Paraguay

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I love life! Until 2010 life in South Africa was great, and now life in Australia is great. Consciously choosing to remain focussed on the positive really works, and my life is testimony to that.

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