Residents in one of the poorest slums in South America found a way to turn garbage into gold.
In the town of Cateura, outside the capital of the impoverished, landlocked country of Paraguay, residents lives are defined by trash. The Cateura Dump, along the Paraguay River, is the dumping site for more than 1,500 tons of solid waste each day. Around 2,500 families live around the dump. Most of them subside on the small amount of money they make by harvesting garbage and selling it to the recycling industry, which pays them 10 cents for a pound of plastic and 5 cents for a pound of cardboard. The community is regarded as one of the poorest slums in Latin America. But amongst the garbage and grief, the human spirit prevails. Borne from the trash and the resourceful, ingenious minds of its residents, the village has spawned the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura. Fashioned from oil cans, drain pipes, and other assorted cast-offs, an orchestra of musical instruments has been crafted, giving the children of this bleak place a glimmer of hope and bringing music to a town once filled with little but despair.