In the barrios of Paraguay, where most people are born into a world of poverty with little hope of getting out, music is providing the children of the Cateura community with a reason to get up in the morning. From the garbage dumps that inundate the community’s interior (Cateura is built on a landfill), instruments for a youth orchestra were created by Favio Chavez, a garbage picker who saw the opportunity to do something profound. Chavez, now the orchestra’s director, built the instruments from recycled metal drums, tin cans, and plastic pipes. He, like many others living in the slum, relied on sorting garbage for recycling as a means of income. For the children of Cateura, many of whom are responsible for collecting and selling the garbage, this orchestra has given their lives new meaning.
The Creative Visions Foundation is in the process of creating a documentary titled Landfill Harmonic about the youth “recycled orchestra” in Cateura. The moving trailer gives insight into the struggles the community endures and how music and one determined director are bringing a sense of value and pride back into the lives of the community’s youngest members.