Friday, November 1, 2013

23. Trash and Treasure

Joaquim and his sporty new goggles (made from Silly Putty packaging)

Our trash has always been a beloved source of toys and trinkets for the neighborhood kids. In particular, the kids love plastic bags, jars, bottles, and boxes.  All of these are good materials for hand-made footballs or toy cars, and they get swept out of the yard in minutes by our usual scavenger-friends.  

But even better than this normal trash is the special American trash.  Dan and I throw out so many things that these kids simply haven't seen before.  Packaging is exciting, as are tests with stickers, bubble wrap, tea bags, and broken electronics.  Everything gets taken and played with, and put to good, creative use.

This week I saw:

-A headband made out of a smooshed-up wrapping-paper bow
-A scrunchie made from a metallic pot scrubber
-A necklace made from used floss and a thimble

I actually had one little boy tattle on his sister for taking a used tea bag from my pile of dirty dishes.  He made her, shamefaced and worried, withdraw it from the pocket where she'd tucked it away.  I just laughed and let her keep it-- that same girl has been stealing tea bags from our trash since the first day we arrived.  Her name is Mae, and her favorite tea is Earl Grey. 

Even the bigger kids aren't exempt from this flexible point of view on trash.  Romao came over the other day and asked me for a spoon.  

"A spoon?"  I said.  "Sure... but why?"

And he held up an empty jar of mayonaisse that I'd thrown out the night before.  

"Just a little bit left," he said.  "But that's okay.  I'll eat it."

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