Music is a language that is accessible to all human beings. A person doesn’t have to understand and be able to speak a multitude of dialects in order to process the notes and harmonies being played by musical instruments. This is precisely why music is so inspiring. One of my favorite bands is Sigur Ros, and though I cannot understand the lyrics to their songs (they sing in Icelandic), I do not need to know what is being sung due to the immense beauty conveyed by their music. The same can be said about the great symphonies composed two hundred years ago; the transformative power of the notes being played speaks in a language that is comprehended by every ear capable of detecting sound. In this world of ours, music has no equal.
Switching the focus of this piece, I want you to think about the trash that is produced just in your household each week. The quantity and the diversity of the trash that makes it to the landfill every week is staggering. Would you be able to take some of your garbage and make something beautiful out of it? There is an old adage that says, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” A group of people living in Catuera, Paraguay, a slum that sits alongside a landfill, sift through the garbage and repurpose what they can out of the heap. Oil cans, cooking utensils, barrels, and scrap wood are used to create orchestral instruments such as violins and cellos. This group of people is literally turning garbage into treasures that are worth more than houses in Catuera.
Some stories are happy, some are sad; some stories have haunting implications, while others leave you feeling like you could conquer the world. This story has a little bit of each. I am grateful that the human spirit is thriving in a poverty-stricken segment of Paraguay. Reading this story makes me feel confident that life is more than having a good job and eating a delightful meal at the end of the day. Finding something positive in each difficulty is a skill that needs to be polished numerous times a day. There is so much potential to transform a bleak situation into a time defined by prosperity. This story proves it.