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Archive for the ‘Recycled Crafts’ Category

Amongst the beagles and other varieties of street dogs roaming the humble pueblito known as Piedra Grande, roamed two Peace Corps volunteers named Danny and Josephine. Now these two volunteers found themselves in the mountains above Mexico City with a quest – a quest to create some of the best-recycled art crafts known on this side of the border. The motivation was simple and absolute, an eco-fair for about 70 children. Two weeks to prepare, and too many recycled crafts projects tantalizing their artistic energies led to quite the experience involving trash-picking, rancid milk, plastic dust in noses, and medical emergencies.

Now setbacks are inevitable in projects such as this, but they can’t always be anticipated.

Setback 1: The realization that papelerías are closed on Sundays. Significance of this discovery? Well, Danny and Josephine needed to buy art supplies from said papelerías before heading out from Querétaro to Piedra Grande that Monday morning. With a little huffing and puffing, the crisis was marginally averted. If you saw two gringos running at 8:00 in the morning, one falling a few steps behind the other (Josephine blames it on the altitude), then you saw Danny and Josephine running to buy paint, glue, construction paper, string, etc., before boarding a bus to Piedra Grande.  “Great,” they thought, “we’ve got all the materials, what can stop us now?”

Setback 2: Danny and Josephine decided to transform plastic bottles into jack-o-lanterns of all varieties in honor of the approaching and children-cherished, Halloween. In preparation for this feat, they collected bottles from a local school in Querétaro and hauled that “trash” bag to Piedra Grande, ready to turn the transparent bottles into pumpkins of vibrant orange opacity. And so, they began to paint. “Huh, how strange,” they thought, “the paint seems to be sliding right off the bottle.” Thus, they learned that they needed to sand 65 bottles before painting them – every nook, cranny, and crease needed a graze of the rough paper. That’s not time consuming at all, right? This is what led to plastic dust in noses.

Setback 3: Turns out Josephine was freakishly allergic to something, something still unknown, and as a result turned into a Blotch Monster. Face swollen, lips white, Benadryl state of mind. It is said that at this moment she informed Danny that she was no longer sanding. No, no dust particles were touching her already fragile face. At which point, as you can imagine, Danny ended up with more plastic dust in his nose.

With the setbacks finally out of the way Team Reduce, Reuse, Recycle was ready to get down to business. Day after day, more oranges bottles lined the room, haunting PC volunteers and begging them for eyes, noses, mouths. But jack-o-lanters weren’t enough. Oh, no. Danny and Josephine decided to make other recycled crafts to give out during a raffle during the eco-fair. This team was getting ambitious it seemed. Like elves, they carried on, hoping their energy and efforts would help dispel the myth that trash is nothing more than trash. Miraculously, beer bottle caps transformed into tambourines, a soda bottle into a piggy bank, milk cartons into wallets, and jugs into Day of the Dead decorations.

Two weeks of working and the time had come. The fair. Team Basura, Team Trash displayed all their handicrafts on the table, anticipating the rush of kids, and eager to give the pumpkins the faces they craved. As was hoped, the kids loved it! Helping the kids decorate their jack-o-lanterns made all the puffy eyes, and frustrated evenings of work fade away, and so they glued, decorated, and transformed “trash” for two hours.  It was the fair winding down, it was time for THE RAFFLE. Now kids had been eyeing these prizes every time they passed Team Basura’s table. They wanted that piggy bank. They wanted those tambourines. They wanted the trash. Names began to be drawn, as fingers were crossed. Prizes were received by kids with smiling faces, hugely smiling faces.

And so, Danny and Josephine gave each other a pat on the back, vowing next time to do the same, setbacks and all.

the twigster,

Josefina

PS: Make your own bottle cap tambourines, milk carton wallets, and soda bottle piggy bank.

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