Instead of one of my essays,
the following post is a ballad inspired by a true story I saw in a recent
documentary. These are the lyrics. Although I wrote the music I have not recorded it for
publication, This event is a remarkable effort on behalf of restoring a healthy ecology in which
garbage is treated safely versus being dumoped, especially where people live!
Recycling doens't get any better than this!
(excerpt from poem/essay environmental anthology, Uncommon Sense about Common Wars)
Helene Smith © copyright 2013
THE MIRACLE OF PARAGUAY
In Cateura the people live on landfill,
With their children labor on oil-can hill,
On the banks of the Paraguay River
Where every child dreams of life anew,
Landfill pickers, day by day,
Recycle trash into cash through sheer will.
O Cateura, Cateura your youths are sweet, fair and good, they make music from water pipes, big jelly cans, crates, forks and spoons, Mozart's notes out flowing–violins, cellos, clarinets and the beat of a rum-a-tump drum.
Angel Earth, sitting on top of the globe
Strums his last string of hope; all other strings broke,
After years sighing and watching proud people labor
In heaps of Trash below,
He ponders the Banada Sur,
Seaming trash survival on rubbish hill.
Months went by, and so did years,
As garbage hill swelled the old lagoon,
Now flowing over with trash,
Problems, too, piled up on children's backs,
Until Favio Chavez, an enterprising man,
Came along with a possible dream.
That same fine day Angel Earth wondered
About all the little children from afar,
Youths rising into thoughts of his mind,
It was all about clean water and other needs.
As he puzzled about the musical man.
A vision of hope appeared before his eyes
Flavio had gathered an orchestra,
With more eager kids than instruments.
Then while rummaging through the trash
He suddenly saw something shiny,
A roll of wire sticking out of the stash,
As the sun shone brightly on his warm back.
Flavio taught kids to play in a new kind of way,
As friend, "Cola," hammered out Instruments from slum trash hill.
But Chevez with a heart of gold
And Cola in a humble way
Could not look up and see Angel Earth,
Strumming his last string of hope.
Soon children came by the hundreds,
To escape slum rat gangs and their potions,
Parents in tears reunited with wayward kids
Giving forth soulful music out of the dumps
And boat loads of other people's junk
–1500 pounds of burden, each new day!
Now Angel Earth, no more sighing over
Trash picker kids, heard sweet music
Coming from sour dough hill,
With an orchestra full of youths taking other peoples junk
And Giving back hope in harmonic song,
A joyful dream come true.
O Cateura, Cateura your youths are sweet, fair and good, they make music from water pipes, big jelly cans, crates, forks and spoons. Mozart's notes out flowing–
Violins, cellos, clarinets and the beat of a rum-a-tump drum.