Thursday, December 8, 2011

They're Watching You!

Developing world children have a fascination with trash. Trash is equated with treasure. When you own nothing, there may be something of value in someone else's garbage. Innovation excels here.

In fact, I failed to mention in my recent blog entry about the pedicure the girls gave me (, that they used a piece of asphalt to wear down my callouses. That was their tool of the trade, for it's what was available to them. It was remarkably effective, considering.

The creativity of the poor always impresses me. I remember being in Mozambique after the devastating floods, and before long the homeless and poor were offering car washes with the excess water that had pooled in the road's potholes. (Mozambique has vehicle-sized potholes and I'm not joking!)

But here in Haiti, the most recent trash innovation took the shape of vitamin bottles. Yup, I had taken a plastic bag full of trash down to the bin, and I did so during the night, hoping to go unnoticed. Well, when you're living with 80 children, little goes unnoticed- there is always a set of eyes watching you, and usually 20 or 30 sets at any one time!

So even though there was no electricity and I 'casually' dropped it in the bin as I kept moving so as to attract less attention, my careful plans were for naught. Within 15 minutes, every single one of the empty vitamin bottles I had placed in that plastic bag were in the hands of one of the children. I have no idea what they plan on doing with them, but no doubt, they have lots of ideas. Perhaps they'll become their own personal water bottle or something to roll down the sloped driveway or a place to put some rocks that they find. I found 2 year old Guerlande sitting on the ground one day with a plastic bag full of pebbles she was collecting. There was nothing else for her to play with, so she was entertaining herself with plastic and pebbles.

I cringe that these children instinctively go through the trash, even when instructed otherwise, but I do understand why they do it.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy seeing how creative kids are and how much joy they can extract from so little!